- 4 updates
The Government's plans to encourage NHS trusts to ensure three quarters of their workers are vaccinated from the flu "is a very welcome initiative", a lung and heart expert has told Daybreak.
Professor Peter Openshaw, director of the Centre for Respiratory Infection, welcomed plans to encourage NHS trusts to make sure their workers are properly immunised by allowing them access to some of the £250 million funding.
NHS trusts that fail to prove at least 75% of their workers have had the jab will be blackballed from emergency funding.
Three quarters of the workforce in every NHS trust will have to be vaccinated against flu this year or miss out on the £250 million pledged by the Government to fight the disease.
- This extends to the wider workforce outside of clinicians - managers, porters and other hospital workers will have to be immunised.
- New data shows just 8% of staff at Britain's worst performing hospitals had been given the flu vaccine, compared with 80% at the best.
- The average was 45% - a level described by Dame Sally Davies, the UK's chief medical officer, as really not good enough.
According to health secretary Jeremy Hunt, the £250 million the Government has pledged to tackle the perennial flu problem will be used to protect some of the UK's youngest children against the disease.
- Two and three year olds in England will be offered flu vaccinations as part of the new initiative to tackle winter health problems.
- GPs will administer a single dose nasal spray to toddlers alongside the annual campaign to vaccinate Britain's elderly and vulnerable.
- The nasal spray flu vaccine is also for children aged two to 18 who are 'at risk' from flu, such as children with long-term health conditions.
The Government is injecting millions into the flu vaccination programme on the condition NHS trusts prove at least 75% of their staff have been immunised against the disease.
Two pots of £250 million have been set aside to fund the programme this year and in 2014.
However, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said NHS trusts would only have access to the funds when they could prove 75% of their workforce had already been immunised against the flu.