A Government minister has hailed a collaborative scheme in Dudley which led to 80 per cent fewer flu outbreaks in borough care homes last winter.
Dudley Council, in conjunction with Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), ensured nearly 1,500 frontline staff in care and residential homes received the flu jab.
The results have been hailed by Caroline Dinenage, Minister for Care, who has held the scheme up as a shining example of the difference that can be made when organisations work together.
It saw 1,462 frontline staff across Dudley receive the vaccination, with 1,183 directly through the scheme and 279 who were eligible to get it from their GP or pharmacy. That made up nearly three quarters of the total workforce.
The minister said the scheme would feature in “Quality Matters”, a free online resource showcasing good practice in collaborative working in the field.
The council has offered free flu jabs to all its staff this year during the first two weeks of October.
Councillor Cathryn Bayton, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said:
Flu is a nasty illness which can lead to death – the risk of this is amplified in care homes, where elderly people are less able to fight it off.
For that reason, as a council, working with the CCG, we decided to invest money and resources into making sure as many frontline staff in these settings were vaccinated.
We wanted to reduce the risk of outbreaks and avoid admissions to hospital.
The results in terms of reducing flu outbreaks have been staggering and have hopefully eased a bit of pressure on the NHS.
It’s great to see it has been recognised nationally and we will continue to try to lead the way in the fight against flu, urging our staff to get the jab for free this month.
For further advice about the flu vaccine, including information for anyone with a long-term health condition, children and those aged 65 and over, visit the NHS Choices website.