Norfolk NHS workers offered £25 gift cards, sweets and cinnamon buns to have flu jab
- Credit: JPUH
Healthcare staff across Norfolk are being offered rewards ranging from shopping gift cards to prize draw entries to entice them to have a free flu jab.
Trusts across the country are keen for as many staff as possible to be vaccinated against the illness, after it was revealed in September that frontline staff could be stopped from working with high-risk patients if they did not have the injection.
Data from Public Health England showed 30pc - 5,482 out of 18,369 - of eligible staff across Norfolk and Waveney's five healthcare trusts did not get the vaccine last year.
But the NHS wants all 18,369 staff to get the jab and said making the vaccination 'near universal' was necessary to protect patients in higher-risk clinical environments, like neonatal intensive care and cancer wards.
At the region's ambulance trust, employees are being offered £25 gift cards and sweets to encourage sign ups and nearly 40pc of clinical staff and 49pc of non-clinical staff had the jab so far.
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Debra Winterson, health and wellbeing manager, said any cost for incentives outweighed the risk of spreading the flu.
At Norfolk Community Health and Care (NCHC), staff were given flu pin badges to show they had been vaccinated and Beth Kimber, head of infection prevention and control, said: 'We have had a terrific uptake for staff flu vaccinations so far; 49pc in our first three weeks.'
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The region's mental health trust had 500 staff vaccinated in the first week of the jab being on offer. Vaccinated employees were entered into a competition to win one of a number of prizes including an Amazon Kindle Bundle, Amazon Echo and Echo Dot, and an Amazon Fire Stick. The prizes were donated by Staff Benefits so do not cost the trust, and for every jab given at Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) a vaccination was donated via Unicef to those less fortunate.
At Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) those vaccinated in the first two weeks were given cinnamon buns and all staff vaccinated are given flu fighter pens and entered into a monthly draw for a John Lewis voucher. The rewards are costing the hospital around £1,000 and so far 44.5pc of staff had been vaccinated - ahead of the rate this time last year.
The cost was the same at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, where cinema and shopping voucher were given out and 58pc of staff had the injection.
It was the same percentage at the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston, where director of nursing Julia Hunt said they were concentrating on dispelling myths about the vaccination and staff were entered into a draw. Prizes were donated by local businesses.