Promoting partnership working in the NHS

Flu Fighter

Flu Fighters

NHS Employers has worked in partnership with NHS trade unions, to successfully deliver the national staff-facing flu vaccination programme, flu fighter, since 2011.

Sara Gorton and Danny Mortimer trade union and employer chairs of the SPF, along with clinical and professional leaders signed a flu vaccination 2018/19 letter to chief executives in NHS trusts and NHS foundation trusts. In the letter they ask how organisations plan to encourage all healthcare workers with direct patient contact to get vaccinated – highlighting the correlation between lower rates of staff vaccination and increased patient deaths. The signatories of the letter also ask that staff who choose not to be vaccinated, anonymously give their reason why. 

The SPF recommend employers work with trade unions and professional organisations to maximise uptake of the vaccine through: 

  • supporting and promoting a local flu fighter campaign
  • identifying and minimising any barriers limiting the uptake
  • agreeing which clinical environments and staff should be defined as higher-risk (see letter for more information)
  • ensuring that the anonymous information about reasons for declining the vaccine is managed with full regard for the dignity of the individuals concerned.

The SPF, particularly through supporting partnership working in the delivery of vaccination programmes in NHS organisations, has helped mainstream staff get vaccinated against seasonal flu each year.

The flu fighter campaign has supported NHS organisations in England to improve staff flu vaccination uptake from 35 per cent in 2010/11 to 68.7 per cent in 2017/18 by encouraging staff to protect themselves, their patients and their families by having the seasonal flu vaccination. The flu jab remains the best protection against the flu.

For more information about the campaign or if you have any questions about what the programme delivers, contact a member of the team on 0844 334 52 52 or by email at