NHS England claims it will write to Doctors and Nurses to remind them of their "professional duty" to protect patients by having the flu vaccination.
NHS England, Public Health England, the Department of Health and NHS Improvement have unveiled measures to boost the uptake of flu vaccination including writing to doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers to remind them of their professional duty to protect patients by being vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza vaccinations are not presently a compulsory requirement of healthcare professionals in the UK but health and social care staff are offered the vaccination for free in order to protect patients and the public.
In a statement, NHS England said; "Many people with flu show no symptoms, meaning healthcare workers who feel fit and healthy can unwittingly infect vulnerable patients. Getting vaccinated is the best way to stop the spread of influenza and prevent death".
Other measures include;
- Providing free flu vaccines for hundreds of thousands of care home staff at a cost of up to £10m as well as increasing the number of jabs for young children in schools and vulnerable people.
- Directing NHS trusts to ensure they make vaccines readily available to staff and record why those who choose to opt out of the programme do so.
- Setting up a new National Emergency Pressure Panel to provide independent clinical advice on system risk and an appropriate regional and national response.
- The biggest expansion in training for A&E consultants ever with hundreds more doctors over the next four years and other healthcare staff.
Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS England's National Medical Director, said:
“This is a timely reminder to employers and staff that we all have a professional responsibility to protect ourselves, and by doing so better protect our patients and reducing the pressure on services.”
Although last year saw record take up more than one in three NHS staff failed to do so, with just one in five being vaccinated in some trusts.