Promoting partnership working in the NHS

Flu Fighter

The SPF encourages employers in the NHS to work in partnership with their trade union representatives in the delivery of their seasonal flu staff vaccination programmes.

Sara Gorton and Danny Mortimer trade union and employer chairs of the SPF, along with clinical and professional leaders signed a flu vaccination 2018/19 letter to chief executives in NHS trusts and NHS foundation trusts. In the letter they ask how organisations plan to encourage all healthcare workers with direct patient contact to get vaccinated – highlighting the correlation between lower rates of staff vaccination and increased patient deaths. 

The signatories of the letter recommend employers work with trade unions and professional organisations to maximise uptake of the vaccine through: 

  • supporting and promoting a local flu fighter campaign
  • identifying and minimising any barriers limiting the uptake
  • agreeing which clinical environments and staff should be defined as higher-risk (see letter for more information)
  • ensuring that the anonymous information about reasons for declining the vaccine is managed with full regard for the dignity of the individuals concerned.

Since 2011, NHS Employers worked in partnership with NHS trade unions, to successfully deliver the national staff-facing flu vaccination programme. The flu fighter campaign supported NHS organisations in England to improve staff flu vaccination uptake, from 35 per cent in 2010/11 to 70.3 per cent in 2018/19, by encouraging staff to protect themselves, their patients and their families by having the seasonal flu vaccination. The flu jab remains the best protection against the flu.

From 2019/20, the frontline healthcare worker flu vaccination campaign forms part of the NHS England and Public Health England winter campaign and is no longer led by NHS Employers.