A DEDICATED team of 'flu fighters' working for the trust which runs local hospitals have been officially recognised in some national NHS awards.

The team from the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) were  finalists in the 'Most Improved flu fighter campaign' category.

It follows their work to promote the importance of flu jabs among hospital staff because outbreaks can decimate the workforce and ultimately impact on patient care.

As a result, the number of frontline staff across the trust having flu jabs jumped from 40.9 per cent in 2012-13, to a whopping 64.1 per cent last year.

The NHS Flu Fighter Awards involved over 100 nominations coming from hospital trusts around the country but only 26 making the final cut across five different awards categories.

The team was praised for its new methods of engaging directly with staff that they needed to reach.

It included a major communications campaign including regular 'walkabouts' on all shift patterns, vaccination sessions in wards or departments, additional drop-in sessions at Occupational Health and regular updates in a variety of communication methods across all levels of the organisation.

In its submission, the Trust said: "The flu fighter team have focussed not only on improving the uptake of the flu vaccination in frontline staff but also increasing levels of engagement and education across the trust.

"Feedback from staff showed that two of the main reasons they were not vaccinated in previous years were, that they felt they never needed it or they couldn’t leave their clinical area to attend a vaccination session.

"The team decided to tackle both of these issues using a variety of different strategies including flu link nurses, involving staff side representatives, myth-busting and a communications plan."

David Wilkinson, the trust's director of workforce and organisational development, remarked: “It is a great achievement to be nominated for an award at national level and the team have done a great job.

“I’d also like to thank our staff for taking part in our flu campaign this year. It is vitally important that we not only protect ourselves against the flu, but also our family, friends and patients, and receiving the vaccination is a great way for us to achieve this. Well done to everyone!”