Almost three times as many front-line NHS staff in England have been vaccinated against flu compared to the same time last year, reveal figures published by the Department of Health today.

This is the first published evidence that England’s first ever national NHS staff flu vaccination campaign, run by the NHS Employers Organisation, is making a major difference to patient safety this year. It aims to significantly increase the proportion of NHS staff who are protected from flu, ensuring they do not pass it on to vulnerable patients for whom flu can be fatal.

The provisional figures show that 29 per cent of front-line staff are already vaccinated, compared to only 11 per cent by this point last year(1). In some trusts almost two thirds of staff are already vaccinated, including Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Trust and Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Dean Royles, director of the NHS Employers organisation that is leading this vaccination campaign, said:

“This is a fantastic increase in the number of staff vaccinated compared to last year. We can now be confident that many more will be vaccinated this year. This is excellent news for patients.

“Flu caused over 600 deaths last year and people with poor health are at greatest risk, including NHS patients. This is why it is essential to get as many staff as possible vaccinated and drive flu out of the NHS.

“Our coordinated vaccination campaign has been embraced throughout NHS England and there have been over 10,000 hits from health trusts on our Flu Fighters web site. One of the biggest differences this year is a much greater increase in the use of social media to communicate the need for staff vaccinations.

“Using social media in this Flu Fighter campaign has made a huge difference in engaging the NHS workforce, creating a buzz and ensuring that people know everything about the jab.

“Vaccinations are not compulsory. This big increase in vaccinations is down to the passion that NHS staff and employers have for protecting patients, colleagues and family.”

The NHS Employers organisation is running the campaign on behalf of the Social Partnership Forum, bringing together NHS employers, trade unions and the Department of Health.