NHS England, Public Health England, the Department of Health and NHS Improvement have today unveiled measures to boost the uptake of flu vaccinations along with package of new contingency actions to respond to pressures on frontline services this winter - extending the seasonal flu programme to include social care workers. This is one of a number of actions announced on 12 October to help manage winter pressures. The letters have gone directly to Heads of Public Health and Heads of Primary Care Commissioning. Read further information here
Please can I ask you to cascade to Medical and Nursing colleagues in your local team and STP and CCG leads. For more information, visit this section of the NHS England website: www.england.nhs.uk/flu
Further to communications sent out earlier last week, here are the implementation plans and timescale delivery following the NHS England announcement that we will fund up to £10m for this flu season to support the delivery of flu immunisation for social care workers that offer direct patient/client care.
This scheme is intended to complement, not replace, the occupational health schemes already in place by employers to support flu vaccination in 2017-18. All frontline local authority staff are encouraged to be vaccinated and we would encourage local authorities that have not launched a staff vaccination scheme to follow the lead of the NHS.
The extension to the seasonal influenza vaccine will be available to:
Health and social care staff, employed by a registered residential care/nursing home or registered domiciliary care provider, who are directly involved in the care of vulnerable patients/clients who are at increased risk from exposure to influenza, meaning those patients/clients in a clinical risk group or aged 65 years and over.
Eligible staff will need to take identification with them to their GP surgery or pharmacy to confirm their eligibility under this scheme. This could be an ID badge or a letter from their employer or a recent pay slip. Staff are asked not to present to a community pharmacy or GP practice for a flu vaccination until after a start date for the vaccination service has been confirmed. It is anticipated that the service will be in place in the next week or so – further communications will be sent out shortly.
As you are already aware, the implementation of this scheme is critical to protect staff and patients/clients and contribute to the resilience of the health and social care system in the coming winter.