Flufighter campaign receives international recognition

Posted on in Awards, Hospitals, Staff

The communication and engagement team at Teesside’s biggest hospital trust is celebrating, after its successful campaign encouraging staff to have their flu jab received international recognition.


Claire Barrass, Dr Pasi Penttinen, Mark Oxley, Sarah Walker, Marie Lozman and Danny Mortimer.

South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s communication professionals picked up the Digital and Social Media gong at the NHS Employers Flu Fighter Awards 2017.

Judges said the team were the “standout winners” – despite numerous entries from Trusts across the country, following a hard-hitting photo campaign, which involved real-life patients and staff.

The campaign was featured in the local press and professional publications, including the Nursing Times and Nursing Standard.

The team were also praised for engaging with staff on their views of whether or not to have the flu jab using a live blog on the trust intranet; and its extensive social media campaign.

This featured numerous videos and striking posters and saw almost a third of staff vaccinated within 10 days of the campaign launch.

An intranet countdown also helped achieve the target of vaccinating 75% of staff by the December deadline.

In total, 77.1% of staff at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have now protected their patients by having the jab in 2016/2017.

A total of 620 more frontline staff had been vaccinated by December 2016 compared to December 2015 – a 12% increase.

Nationally, 63.4% of frontline healthcare workers were vaccinated against flu in 2016/2017, according to figures from Public Health England.

The award was presented to Marie Lozman, Internal Communications Manager, Sarah Walker, Communication Executive, Mark Oxley, Videographer and Claire Barrass, Graphic Designer; by Dr Pasi Penttinen, Head of Disease Programme Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.


Flu champion Lynn Kell and Lauren I’Anson during #FluFriday at The Friarage Hospital

Dr Penttinen, who judged the digital and social media award and said other practitioners across Europe would learn from the best practice shown by all professionals at the awards, said: “In addition to having a clear social and digital media presence with high quality videos, educational and motivational messaging that achieved the target results, this team had proactively embarked on engaging into a conversation with staff on an intranet discussion forum and with email voting buttons.

“They had also developed a countdown banner onto the website. As recognition, the campaign has already seen some local media and professional media coverage.”

Amanda Marksby, Head of Reputation Management at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who leads the communication and engagement team, said: “This is well-deserved recognition for the hard work the team put into helping make this year’s flu campaign such a success within our organisation. The campaign really got staff and members of the general public talking with its use of hard-hitting posters featuring real patients.

“The award also recognises the great work done by the Trust’s wider ‘Flu Fighter Team’ including our occupational health and flu champions, who worked tirelessly to vaccinate our staff and promotes partnership working between healthcare workers and communications professionals at its very best.”

Danny Mortimer, Chief Executive of NHS Employers, which runs the national flu fighter campaign, said: “This is very inspiring local work by staff who go the extra mile to keep their colleagues and patients safe.

“When this flu fighter campaign started in 2011 only a third of frontline NHS staff in England were having these vaccinations and now it is almost two-thirds. That is a huge improvement over a relatively short time in the life of the NHS, so really all these flu campaigners are winners.”