The PHE Green Book recommends that healthcare workers who are directly involved in patient care should have a flu vaccine every year.1 This is also encouraged by the General Medical Council and the British Medical Association.12,13 Flu immunisation of health and social care workers with direct patient contact is likely to reduce transmission of infection to vulnerable patients, including those with impaired immunity that may not respond well to a flu vaccine.
The General Medical Council's 2013 Good medical practice for doctors states that: "You should be immunised against common serious communicable diseases (unless otherwise contraindicated)."13
Frontline healthcare workers are more likely to be exposed to the flu virus, especially during winter months. Estimates suggest that up to one in four healthcare workers may become infected with flu during a mild flu season.14 This is a much higher incidence than would be expected in the general population.14
Flu immunisation should be offered by NHS organisations to all employees directly involved in patient care, as part of their policy for preventing flu transmission to protect patients, staff and visitors.9
NHS England has published a CQUIN covering 2017/18 and 2018/19 which includes an indicator to improve the uptake of flu vaccinations for frontline healthcare workers. The ambition is for providers to achieve uptake of flu vaccinations by frontline healthcare staff of 75%.9
Examples of staff who may be directly involved with patient care include: clinicians, midwives and nurses, paramedics and ambulance drivers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, radiographers, GPs, practice nurses, district nurses, health visitor social care staff in care settings, and pharmacists.