Be a flu fighter and get your jab

The Chief Nursing Officer for England explains why she is backing NHS Employers’ #jabathon campaign aimed at getting more NHS workers to have the flu vaccination:

The importance of receiving the flu jab is undeniable.

Each year, flu causes severe illness in up to five million people worldwide. In extreme cases, this can result in up to 500,000 deaths. To bring this closer to home, our hospitals treated more than 1,000 patients with flu in intensive care settings in 2013-14 and, tragically, almost 10 per cent of them died. However, this number can be reduced by using a vaccine that is up to 70 per cent effective.

I’m a flu fighter and I’ve had my flu jab – have you?

I have a flu jab every year, partly because I have diabetes and I am particularly at risk, but also because I am keen to help to protect my family, my colleagues and any patients or staff I meet when I am visiting services and organisations.

Flu is a serious illness that can lead to death, and with up to one in four healthcare workers at risk of becoming infected with flu, it’s really important that staff protect themselves.

In 2014-15, just over 541,000 frontline healthcare staff were vaccinated – that’s just over half of front line staff. While this is a great number, we should all aim to protect ourselves and others from the virus.

Nursing, midwifery and care staff can take a series of proactive actions to tackle flu. In particular, there are three things that you should do to help tackle flu this winter:

  • Firstly, you should have your flu jab in order to protect not just yourself, but your patients, friends and family.
  • Secondly, wash your hands regularly. You no doubt do this regularly day in, day out but particularly if you sneeze or cough, you risk passing flu on to others without even having the symptoms yourself.
  • Finally, if you have flu, stay away from work until you are better. The flu virus is highly infectious and outbreaks can happen quickly.

I know many staff working on the front line have a number of questions about the flu vaccine. I’d like to reassure you all that the vaccine is safe, it won’t give you flu and the side effects, such as mild fever or muscular pain, are manageable.

Remember, everyone needs the vaccine each year as there are different variants of the virus that often change annually. It’s particularly important for people over the age of 65, women who are pregnant, individuals with long term health conditions such as diabetes and asthma, and small children to be vaccinated.

So I encourage you all to roll up those sleeves, follow my lead and get your flu jab to protect your patients, your family, your colleagues and, of course, yourselves.

Jane Cummings

Professor Jane Cummings is the Chief Nursing Officer for England and Executive Director at NHS England.

Jane specialised in emergency care and has held a wide variety of roles across the NHS including Director of Commissioning, Director of Nursing and Deputy Chief Executive.

In February 2004, she became the national lead for emergency care agreeing and implementing the 98% operational standard. She has also worked as the nursing advisor for emergency care. In January 2005, she was appointed as the National Implementation Director for ‘Choice’ and ‘Choose and Book’.

Jane moved to NHS North West in November 2007 where she held executive responsibility for the professional leadership of nursing, quality, performance as well as QIPP, commissioning and for a time Deputy Chief Executive Officer. In October 2011, she was appointed to the role of Chief Nurse for the North of England SHA Cluster.

She was appointed as Chief Nursing Officer for England in March 2012 and started full time in June 2012. Jane is the professional lead for all nurses and midwives in England (with the exception of public health) and published the ‘6Cs’ and ‘Compassion in Practice’ in December 2012, followed by publishing the ‘Leading Change, Adding Value’ framework in May 2016.

Jane has executive oversight of maternity, patient experience, learning disability and, in January 2016, became executive lead for Patient and Public Participation.

She was awarded Doctorates by Edge Hill University and by Bucks New University, and she is a visiting professor at Kingston University and St George’s University, London.

She is also Director and trustee for Macmillan Cancer Support and a clinical Ambassador for the Over the Wall Children’s Charity where she volunteers as a nurse providing care for children affected by serious illnesses.

Follow Jane on Twitter: @JaneMCummings.

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  1. Kassander says:

    “Finally, if you have flu, stay away from work until you are better. The flu virus is highly infectious and outbreaks can happen quickly.”
    Just try that in any job and see what happens when one gets back to work.
    In far too many companies one will be subjected to a 3rd degree over every second of one’s sickness absence.
    Then a negative points system will be applied and one warned not to become ill again.
    We’re being worked to death, Ms Cummings. What are YOU doing about that situation?

  2. Kassander says:

    “Be a flu fighter and get your jab” – Professor Jane Cummings
    ” jab ”
    poke roughly or quickly, especially with something sharp or pointed.
    “she jabbed him in his ribs”

    synonyms: poke, prod, dig, nudge, tap, butt, ram, elbow, shove, punch, jolt;

    a quick, sharp blow, especially with the fist.
    Such language from a Board director of Our=NHS, and a Professor to boot.
    Will we soon be subjected to ‘Anglo-Saxon’ terminology for parts of our bodies?
    Do please try to retain some element of decorum and professionalizm

  3. Chris Reid says:

    The flu jab issued last year was useless. Trying to force NHS workers to get a flu jab is a joke, you don’t own them and it is not as effective as you claim. Perhaps Jane Cummings could focus her efforts on recruiting and retaining Nurses for the NHS instead of supporting the destruction of the NHS.

    • Kassander says:

      Well ‘said’.
      Yet another of the carpet baggers who have jumped on board Our=NHS and treat it as if it was theirs.