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Local NHS trust vaccinates 70% of frontline staff against flu

Posted: 29 January 2019
Communications Team

Picture of the staff at the trust celebrating the fact that 70 per cent of staff have beeb vaccinated against fluWest Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust is pleased that seven out of ten of their patient-facing staff have had their flu vaccination this winter. This is higher than the national average for NHS Trusts and is a significant improvement on previous years, with this year’s vaccination uptake being 20 per cent higher than during the 2016/17 season, which saw just 49 per cent of frontline staff having their flu jabs. Our goal is to get as close to 100 per cent of staff being vaccinated as possible.

Healthcare workers who provide care for patients at the trust's three hospitals in Watford, St Albans and Hemel Hempstead helped with this year’s staff flu vaccination campaign which got off to a fabulous start with more than 500 staff joining in and having their flu shot on the first day alone!

Last winter the UK saw its worst flu season for years and the combination of poor weather and influenza outbreaks placed significant pressure on hard-working NHS staff across the country. Locally, many wards at Watford General hospital had to close off bays in order to isolate patients with flu, which then had a knock on effect on other services provided by the trust.

All NHS staff are advised to have their free flu vaccination every winter. The flu jab is safe and helps our immune system fight the flu virus. It also prevents us from spreading the virus to others, such as colleagues, family members and vulnerable patients. For those of us who work in care settings, getting the flu jab is an essential part of our work.

Public Health England (PHE) have advised that younger adults of working age adults seem to be the group most affected by the flu virus this year. The good news is that they’re confident that this year’s vaccine is a good match for the strain of flu that is circulating. It's therefore vital that any staff who are in contact with our patients have their flu jabs as soon as possible, before peak flu season hits us in February.

Tracey Carter, Chief Nurse and Director of Infection & Prevention Control, said: "Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen an increase in the number of patients being admitted with flu which is putting pressure on our hospitals, with several wards already having to close bays due to the virus. We’ve also seen more activity related to flu in our Intensive Care Unit this year, compared to previous years. I’m grateful to all our fabulous staff who have taken a few minutes to protect themselves and our patients by having their flu jab. I’d encourage anyone who has not yet had their jab to do so as a priority. It’s not too late."

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Notes to editors

  1. For For more information, please contact the communications team on: 01923 436280 or email: communications@whht.nhs.uk. Out of hours, please call 07900 228031.
  2. West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust serves people from across Hertfordshire, north London and further afield. It operates from three hospitals; Watford General, St Albans City and Hemel Hempstead. The trust has a catchment area of over 500,000 people and is one of the largest employers locally, with around 5,000 staff and volunteers.
  3. For more information about our hospitals, visit www.westhertshospitals.nhs.uk. You can also join our followers on Twitter (twitter.com/westhertsNHS) and find us on Facebook (facebook.com/westhertsNHS).