Monday, Oct 12th, 2009
The Department of Health has ordered NHS bosses across England to ensure that frontline staff get immunised against swine flu amid growing signs that many doctors and nurses intend to shun the vaccine.
Chief executives and boards who run hospitals, primary care trusts and strategic health authorities have been told to urgently maximise the number of workers having the jab. Leading DH figures including Sir Liam Donaldson, the chief medical officer, have written to them six times in the last five weeks stressing the need for action before the second wave of the pandemic causes major problems.
Ian Dalton, the NHS’s national director of flu resilience, last week warned that vaccination of nurses, doctors and other frontline staff was “absolutely critical” and that widespread take-up of the jabs “will help us to save lives”.
The DH’s letters stress that patients’ health could be put at risk and the NHS left seriously short-staffed through virus-related absenteeism if senior managers do not overcome “perceived obstacles” to the vaccination of workers. Swine flu’s threat is so great that the NHS must avoid only small numbers of personnel getting immunised, as usually happens with seasonal flu every winter, the letters add.
This article was posted: Monday, October 12, 2009 at 4:15 am