‘Tis the season to get your flu jab

All frontline NHS staff in England should have a flu vaccination to help protect patients this winter, NHS leaders have announced.

The CSP says staff feedback about declining a flu vaccination should be anonymous

They have advised trusts that staff who decide not to be vaccinated should be asked to give a reason for that decision; following intervention by the CSP and fellow health unions, those reasons will now only be recorded anonymously.

The idea is that the organisation can use this information in the future to understand and overcome barriers to vaccination. Flu vaccination for NHS staff remains voluntary, although staff are strongly encouraged to take up the vaccination offer.

Last winter, nearly 69 per cent of frontline health care workers received the vaccination. Some trusts reported having vaccinated more than 90 per cent of staff.

NHS leaders would like all frontline staff to be vaccinated against flu and the CSP and other members of the England Social Partnership Forum, who are signatories to the recent letter to trust chief executives, support this aim. However, the CSP believes that flu vaccination should continue to be voluntary and that people who decline to be vaccinated should not be treated less favourably as a result.

The letter also strongly urges NHS trusts to work closely in partnership with local trade union colleagues to understand staff concerns and maximise vaccination rates.

Claire Sullivan, CSP director of employment relations and the society’s representative on the Social Partnership Forum said: ‘The CSP has long been a supporter of a strong voluntary flu vaccination programme for NHS staff.

‘We believe, however, that any shift towards mandatory vaccination would be counter-productive and is not the right way to achieve the highest vaccination levels. Vaccination should form an integral part of robust local infection control procedures, not replace them.’

If members have any concerns they should contact their CSP workplace steward.

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