FRONTLINE staff at Southend Hospital have ​one of the worst records for getting a flu jab to protect themselves and their patients, new figures reveal.

Public Health England statistics show that 2,016 of 3,938 frontline workers at the trust were vaccinated against flu by the end of January.

It means an uptake rate of just 51.2 per cent – ​one of the lowest in England and well below the national average of 72.4 per cent.

Doctors, nurses, clinical staff and support workers involved in direct patient care are encouraged to have the jab.

Trusts have financial incentives for staff uptake, receiving full payment if at least 80 per cent have it, and a decreasing amount down to 60 per cent coverage, below which they get nothing.

Danny Hariram, chief human resources director, said: “Southend Hospital has been fully committed to the NHSE guidance for a successful flu campaign and we have increased on the previous year’s actions and initiatives in terms of raising awareness and making it much easier for our staff to get vaccinated.

“We recognise the fall in uptake needs to be addressed and further improvements must be made.

“We are already speaking with colleagues from other trusts in the region who have reported good uptakes and this will inform our flu plan and campaign for 2020/21.”

With the number of workers being vaccinated varying dramatically across England, the Society for Acute Medicine says the NHS has enough to worry about without staff getting preventable illnesses.

Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, described the disparity as “worrying”.

“The NHS has enough to worry about without further issues with staff being unwell when it may have been prevented,” he added.

“We know there is a financial incentive for NHS trusts to get their staff vaccinated but I would hope the health need and protection it offers would be more than enough to persuade people.”

However, Dr Scriven added that the bulk of influenza cases for the winter season had already occurred.

Across England, the 72.4 per cent uptake rate at the end of January was better than at the same point a year earlier, when it stood at 68.6 per cent.