Nottingham hospitals are predicting that 75% of front line health workers will get their flu jab this year following a record start to a staff vaccination programme.
More than 39% of front line health workers employed by NUH have already had their flu jab this year.
In just three weeks almost 5000 staff have had their flu jab at vaccination sessions held at both QMC and City Hospital.
The higher response to the national flu fighter campaign in the Trust has been credited to a new app which highlights take up of the vaccine across all wards and departments.
Deputy Chief Nurse Ann-Marie Riley is the Trust’s lead nurse flu fighter. She said: “The app has been a massive success and means we can see which wards and services are best protected against the flu virus.
“So far our family health service, which includes the Children’s Hospital, are the clear leaders with 45.5% of front line healthcare workers already vaccinated.
“We’re well on track to vaccinating more staff than any other year because there’s so much more clarity about where to focus promotion of the vaccine.”
Developed in house by the Trust’s occupational health team and ICT service, the app updates the Trust’s flu protection dashboard after every vaccination.
Jo Worrell, Business Manager for the Trust’s occupational health service said: “The app has proved incredibly popular with vaccinators who have commented on both its speed and ease of use. It allows them to note details of the vaccination very quickly and provides a complete electronic record. This has reduced the need for paper records and provides live data which helps us focus on services where there is low take up.”
The Trust has a 75% target for front line healthcare workers to have a flu vaccination, which can be provided by the Trust or a GP in the community.
But as an added incentive this season all staff who are vaccinated receive a flu fighter sports water bottle, which helps staff stay hydrated in areas where water bottles have historically not been allowed, such as wards.
Ann-Marie added: “In hospitals there are groups of people who are particularly vulnerable from the flu virus. We all have a responsibility to protect, not only our patients and their relatives, but also our family and friends from contracting the flu virus.
“Many of our patients are more likely to develop potentially serious complications of flu, such as bronchitis and pneumonia. People who are aged 65 or older; who are pregnant or have lowered immunity due to cancer treatment are some of the patients most at risk.”
A large amount of attendances to the QMC’s Emergency Department during Winter are due to influenza.
Admissions normally peak around February when sometimes more than 30 people a week are admitted due to the illness. Although the virus has been known to peak as early as December.
Ann-Marie added: “We’re aiming to vaccinate at least 75% of staff before the end of December and are encouraging patients to get the jab during the coming months.”
The NHS offers a free vaccination to those who have a high risk of catching the disease – including young children and pregnant women.
If you’re at risk of complications from flu, make sure you have your annual flu vaccine, available now from your local GP.
Staff from our children’s dialysis unit and ward E17, where take up of the vaccine has been highest, are pictured with their flu fighter water bottles.