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Fighting Influenza is no FLUke
The more experienced among us know how much prep it takes to fight the flu. There is hardly any reprieve. It starts in the summer with reading new guidance and taking flu vaccination delivery, not to mention working out where to store them all! Organising the vaccination, before finally inviting the patients for their jabs. And so it continues until March. Let’s take a closer look…
Raising the Bar – Practice Targets
The Department of Health target uptake of the vaccination has been raised again this year, meaning that the following uptake rates are expected:
- Children - 40-65% across all cohorts.
- At Risk - At least 55% in all of the groups, and maintaining higher rates where those have already been achieved.
- Over 65s - The targeted uptake figure in the 65 years and over age group this season is 75%.
Is This Achievable?
With practices being required to have a proactive call and recall system in place for all at-risk patients, pressure is on for practices to achieve targets. Let’s not forget, though, that the core focus (and reason for uptake targets) is patient protection. Whilst demanding, the targets ensure your practice is responsive and provide the best service to patients within the population groups who meet the criteria. As well as patient safety, a savvy practice manager will feel satisfaction at not only responding to patient needs, but also knowing that the flu vaccination is about business. The practice gets paid a fee for each vaccination given - another good reason to be responsive to uptake targets.
Innovative Flu Days
We’ve all heard the saying, ‘you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.’ Well, it’s basically the same with your patients. But with turning up to have their vaccinations, rather than making them drink.
A big challenge is to get them to come in for their jabs that are on offer. Hmmm, how can we find a new way to attract patients to get their jab?
- Patients love raffles. Hold a raffle during vaccination days and raise money for a charity that would be popular among your patients. Ask your PPG for suggestions of charities they would like to support. Prizes needn’t be expensive; make up baskets of fresh fruit and vegetables, utilise staff skills in hand-making other prizes, or ask local businesses to donate prizes. For example, hairdressers, beauty salons, shops, gyms, sport/recreation centres, etc.
- Have tea, coffee and cake on offer - patients can socialise with other local people.
- Hold a survey to find out whether patients prefer to have a midweek, evening or weekend appointment for their flu jab and respond to demand.
- Have a special ‘teddy bear day’ - invite children in during your flu vaccination clinic and get them to bring their favourite teddy bear for a ‘teddy bears picnic’, or for ‘story time’ or a book share with a volunteer storyteller.
Health Education England offers e-learning to support healthcare workers training - Flu Immunisation
Healthcare practitioners should refer to the Green Book influenza chapter for full details on contraindications and precautions for flu vaccines. This chapter can be found at: Immunisation Against Infectious Disease
The site also contains lots of other information, for example:
As Autumn gets well underway, I wish you all the best in another successful flu season.
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