Thousands of NHS workers have not had flu jab, new figures show

Thousands of doctors, nurses and other frontline staff at York Teaching Hospital Trust, which runs Scarborough General Hospital, have not had a flu jab to protect themselves and their patients, new figures reveal.

Sunday, 9th February 2020, 10:02 am
Public Health England statistics show that 2,175 of 6,825 frontline workers at the trust were not vaccinated against flu.

The Society for Acute Medicine says it is concerning that many NHS staff across England who deal with patients have not been vaccinated.

Public Health England statistics show that 2,175 of 6,825 frontline workers at the trust were not vaccinated against flu by the end of December.

It means an uptake rate of 68.1% – just below the national average of 68.5%.

Doctors, nurses, clinical staff and support workers involved in direct patient care are encouraged to have the jab.

Trusts have financial incentives for staff uptake, receiving full payment if at least 80% have it, and a decreasing amount down to 60% coverage, below which they get nothing.

The target is measured between September and February, and the payment varies depending on the size of the trust’s contract.

Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, described the disparity as “worrying”.

He said: “The NHS has enough to worry about without further issues with staff being unwell when it may have been prevented.

“We know there is a financial incentive for NHS trusts to get their staff vaccinated but I would hope the health need and protection it offers would be more than enough to persuade people.”

Dr Doug Brown, chief executive of the British Society for Immunology, said the flu vaccine is the best protection we have against a virus that can lead to serious illness in vulnerable groups.

An NHS spokesman said: “Flu can cause serious illness and adds significant pressure to the health services, which is why NHS staff have worked hard to achieve a record level of uptake for the vaccine so far this year, with almost 50,000 more frontline staff choosing to protect themselves, their patients and colleagues from flu.”