From worst to best: how West Midlands Ambulance Service improved staff seasonal influenza vaccination rates
PHE ePoster Library. Miller J. Apr 9, 2019; 257526; 15451
Mr. Joshua Miller
Mr. Joshua Miller
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Abstract Background:
Seasonal influenza vaccination rates for staff in ambulance services have been historically lower than in other health sectors, with West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) having the lowest rate in the sector. This risked harm both by direct influenza transmission by frontline staff, but also by reduced resilience to deliver services if influenza outbreaks affected workshops, IT or control room staff. Higher vaccination rates could reduce these risks.
Our Trust used a variety of innovative methods to improve staff seasonal influenza vaccination uptake. These included: using paramedics as peer vaccinators across the Trust's wide geography, including staff on alternative duties not able to work operationally; using a mobile 'flu bus' to hold pop-up clinics where peer vaccinators were not embedded; 'Jabathons' and social media campaigns; competition between teams and a ' Flu Awards' ceremony; as well as a £20 incentive voucher for all vaccinated staff.
In 2016 WMAS became the first UK ambulance service to vaccinate over 75% of staff, more than doubling previous rates of vaccination and moving from the worst- to the best-vaccinated ambulance service. We had similar success in 2017.
Although ambulance services have staff working shifts across widely dispersed areas, and a historically low seasonal influenza vaccination rate, this is not a barrier to successfully vaccinating the majority of the workforce if novel methods are used to meet the needs of the workforce, protecting them and the local population. Funding Vaccination rate improvement was rewarded under the Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN) framework.
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