Thousands of hospital staff protecting patients from flu

Over half of all frontline hospital staff vaccinated in under four weeks

More than half of all frontline healthcare staff working across Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital have been vaccinated against flu in under four weeks.

Since the launch of its staff flu vaccination campaign, Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust has seen 4,600 staff, including 53% of all those who are involved in providing direct  care to patients, protected against this season’s most likely strain of the virus.

The Occupational Health team has been supported to deliver the vaccinations by a network of volunteer vaccinators, working round the clock to protect colleagues in their immediate teams and workplaces; this has enabled staff in different locations, working different shift patterns, to receive this essential protection. The volunteer teams have been vaccinating colleagues during their shifts and holding special drop-in flu jab clinics across both hospital sites, while Occupational Health staff have offered one-to-one appointments in their department.

Carole Hunter, Head of Occupational Health for Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust says:

“Staff vaccination against flu is an essential part of our winter planning. We want our staff to be protected against the virus so they can be at work to deliver care to our patients in sufficient numbers when we need them.

“Frontline staff are at a high risk of catching any viral infection and that means they are at a high risk of spreading it to others. This can be particularly dangerous for hospital patients as many are already seriously ill or have weakened immune systems.

“By getting the flu jab, staff are not only protecting themselves but by default, their patients, visitors and even their own friends and loved ones.”

All staff receiving vaccinations between now and the end of November will qualify for an extra day off as part of a Trust incentive scheme to ensure as many staff as possible get their jabs.

Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals Trust has been one of the country’s best performing NHS Trusts in terms of staff vaccination rates for the past six years. Last year, 76% of frontline staff were vaccinated against flu.

People in good health who catch flu are usually expected to recover within a week or so of contracting the illness.

However, it can have severe consequences in anyone aged 65 and over, pregnant women, children and adults with underlying health conditions such as long-term heart or respiratory diseases and those with weakened immune systems

At-risk groups are also more likely to develop potentially serious complications such as pneumonia.

Carole continues:

“We’re really pleased with the response so far. It’s great to see so many people involved in delivering direct patient care receiving the jab, but it’s also important for other staff who play a part in keeping our hospitals working, day in day out, to get protected too.

“We hope staff will continue to attend our clinics over the next two months so we can have as many people vaccinated as possible.”

Find out more about the jab and what you can do to protect yourself at www.nhs.uk/flu