Fighting Flu Fabulously!

Fighting Flu Fabulously!

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Organisational Development Manager Jo Bradshaw has presented a #flufighter webinar hosted by NHS Employers.

Each season, NHS Employers provide employers with tools and resources that will help them run an effective flu fighter campaign and support resilience plans for winter    pressures.

The webinar – a seminar conducted over the internet – allowed a conversation with other organisations about the approach Jo and her wider #flufighter team took to   encourage East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) colleagues to get vaccinated.

Jo said: “I have planned and delivered our staff flu fighter campaign for the past three years, and each time we’ve increased the number of colleagues that are vaccinated.

“This is important because it means that we are all playing our bit to protect our colleagues, our patients and our families; anyone can get flu and pass it on to vulnerable groups – even with no symptoms.

 “When planning our flu campaign there are several challenges to overcome; our geography, operational pressures and having the majority of our workforce out on the road. It’s important to start by talking to the wider flu team and members of staff to understand what did and didn’t work well previously, what we can change or adapt, where our gaps were and who we didn’t reach and why.”

During 2016/17 the EMAS flu fighter team vaccinated 61% of colleagues (a 10% increase on the previous year), and approached more than 90% of colleagues about having the vaccine.

Jo added: “Every year our flu team ask all colleagues if they would like their flu vaccination and their response helps us understand why some decline. The main reason     relates to personal choice, misunderstandings, vaccine effectiveness and health issues. Knowing this helps us to shape our campaign re\\materials and flu vaccinators training to myth busting and encourage more to get protected.”

A successful flu campaign can’t be done by just one person and the EMAS flu fighter team is made up of people from a variety of areas across EMAS. As well as Jo as EMAS Flu Lead, they include:

·       Head of Infection Prevention and Control

·       Local flu leads – managers within each area of our service

·       Flu vaccinators – EMAS clinicians trained to provide vaccinations at our planned flu clinics.

·       Logistics, medicine management and supplies – ensuring all equipment, vaccines and supplies are ordered, checked and available to keep flu teams stocked up throughout the campaign

·       Communications team – supporting with the creation of materials and awareness raising via social media, videos, and internal briefings.

·       Learning and development team – supporting through the creation of a flu vaccinator training package. Some education staff also get trained to be able to offer flu vaccinations to colleagues that attend our training courses.

·       And of course, our staff and Community First Responder volunteers that have the flu vaccination.

Jo concluded: “I am feeling really optimistic about this year’s campaign and our flu team is engaged and motivated. We have some exciting incentives in place and the challenge of being crowned with the best flu face accolade is on!”

Earlier this year EMAS Community Paramedic Tracy Cunningham was shortlisted for the national flu fighter champion award for helping to vaccinate more than 70% of Derbyshire colleagues against the flu. She was nominated for her refreshing approach in encouraging her colleagues to have their flu jab. She used a series of techniques, mainly a smiley face, to vaccinate 449 colleagues and took photographs along the way to support our social media promotion.