Tributes have been paid to the thousands of NHS Fife health and social care staff who kept vital services running during this month’s heavy snowfall.
In praising the response of employees during the storm Fife’s health board has also hailed the overwhelming success of a new campaign aimed at encouraging staff to get themselves vaccinated against flu amid suggestions other areas across Scotland should follow suit.
Staff in acute and community services worked longer hours, walked considerable distances to get into work, shared 4×4 vehicles to overcome difficult driving conditions and even stayed overnight at hospitals, temporary accommodation or with family and friends to ensure they were available for duty.
Army personnel from Leuchars were also involved in ensuring NHS workers could battle through the snow and ice.
Reservists from the Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry (SNIY), have joined their Regular Army counterparts in Leuchars to assist key NHS workers to get to work in the extreme weather and allow them to continue to provide essential medical services for everyone who needs them pic.twitter.com/I1gSK1YEF9
— British Army (@BritishArmy) March 3, 2018
NHS Fife board members put on record their thanks at their monthly meeting in Kirkcaldy, with chair Tricia Marwick expressing her pride and gratitude.
“I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank all the staff sincerely for all their efforts to ensure the resilience of services,” she said.
“We’ve had a very difficult period but the staff have risen to the challenge and more.
“I don’t want to single out any specific part of the NHS but for those who walked miles, for those who stayed overnight in hospitals, they have my heartfelt thanks.”
The success of NHS Fife’s Flu Fighters campaign was also highlighted after new figures revealed Fife had met the chief medical officer’s target to vaccinate 50% of frontline staff during the 2017/18 seasonal influenza vaccination programme.
In 2016/17 NHS Fife was the second worst performing health board in Scotland, with only 26.9% of staff taking up the vaccination during that flu season.
The dramatic rise this year has been largely put down to the Flu Fighters communications campaign, which was backed by the likes of Lorraine Kelly and survival expert Ray Mears.
A total of 111 drop-in vaccination clinics were held across the region, 58 peer vaccinators were recruited to deliver vaccine to colleagues, and a Flu Fighters tour bus visited locations throughout Fife over three days to administer vaccine to staff.
NHS Fife flu posts also reached 187, 598 different people’s timelines on Facebook, while tweets also reached 156,027 timelines on Twitter.
Mrs Marwick continued: “I think the thing to note is just how extensive an effort it was and there were quite a few innovations we would like to build on next year.
“We were able to reach a much wider audience with our campaign and there are some lessons to be learned centrally about how we took that campaign to people to see if we can get the message to a lot more people across Scotland.”
Meanwhile, Mrs Marwick also responded to recent media reports concerning NHS Fife acute services’ chief operating officer Professor Scott McLean, who has been suspended pending an investigation into alleged misconduct.
Mr McLean was not mentioned by name during the meeting, but Mrs Marwick noted: “It is the position of the board that we will maintain our legal responsibility to protect the privacy of our employees and will therefore not comment on individual staff members past or present.”