A new report discloses that fewer than one in seven front line NHS staff received a flu vaccine last year despite a recommendation that they do so.Well, it is only a recommendation. If they don't want the jab, they aren't obliged to have it.
So they want to force them to take it:
Dr George Kassianos, the immunisation spokesman for the Royal College, told The Times: "The only way to boost the effectiveness of the flu vaccine is to immunise the people who are delivering the care – in hospitals, nursing homes, residential homes and GPs' surgeries.And the carer's rights not to have a compulsory immunisation? Tough...
"We are now so hot on infections such as MRSA, so why are we not on influenza? You are placing patients' lives at risk if you give them the flu.
"It may make sense to say that if staff want to work in contact with patients, then they need to be immunised. We have to think of the patient on the hospital bed. They have a right not to contract flu from a carer."
Michael Summers, the vice-chairman of the Patients' Association, told The Times that the latest figures were "very concerning".Here's something you may not have realised, Mike old boy. NHS staff are people too.
He said: "NHS staff must lead by example. They know that patients are vulnerable to flu if they themselves are infected but also if they fall sick and have to stay at home, which will also affect patient care. They know the risks this is posing to patients."
If they decide (as so many apparently do) that they don't need a flu vaccination, then they shouldn't need to have one to work. The NHS employs people - it doesn't own them...