CUMBRIA Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has been recognised as one of the most improved trusts nationally for flu vaccination.

Fifty-three per cent of the trust’s frontline staff have been vaccinated against influenza this flu season as part of a national campaign - up 18 per cent on last year.

Dr John Howarth, the board’s flu champion, said: “I am delighted with the improvement this year. The vaccination isn’t compulsory and we need to encourage staff to volunteer to get vaccinated.

“Flu vaccination protects not just the individual staff member but also the people we look after. It is possible to have influenza with mild symptoms and we can inadvertently spread it to colleagues and service users.

“This year the flu vaccination was delivered by a fantastic in house team led by Meryl Lawrenson. Through their hard work, the hard work of local managers and local staff 18 per cent more frontline staff were vaccinated compared to last year.

“This is great but it only brings us close to the national average. Next year we will aim to become one of the best trusts for flu vaccination so we will need your help again to achieve this.

“This was the first time we have delivered the programme in house so have analysed what worked well and areas we can improve on. We work across 2,600 square miles from about 200 sites yet we get compared to trusts with just one or two main sites. We will be looking at the different ways that we can make it even more available for staff next year."

The vaccinations are provided free of charge at a range of times and locations to suit all frontline staff, including night workers and those out in the community.

The NHS flu fighter campaign, now in its third year, aims to raise awareness about the benefits of vaccination against flu and educates staff about the availability of the free vaccine.

Flu jabs for NHS staff are not compulsory, so can only be given to those who request them. The campaign is run by the NHS Employers organisation and aims to continue increasing staff vaccinations until they become routine practice for all staff, helping to stop flu in its tracks and protect patients.