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Trusts rubbish accuracy of ‘vital’ covid vaccination figures

Published on: 11 Oct 2021

Multiple trusts have disputed the accuracy of the first published provider-level data on NHS staff covid vaccine uptake, which is described as ‘vital’ and ‘highly important’ by the UK Health Security Agency.

The UKHSA last week published vaccination figures for frontline healthcare workers at NHS trusts. It was the first time provider-level vaccination data has been issued, more than 10 months after the programme began. Trusts also report uptake to NHS England but it has so far declined to publish the figures.

However, in the UKHSA publication, no data is listed for around a third of trusts and several are reported as having zero staff who have had a second dose. 

And several trusts listed as having low uptake (see tables below) told HSJ the data in the UKHSA publication was inaccurate, with the proportions reported as having had a second dose well below what they say is the reality. Several trusts have no staff listed as having had a second dose at all.

The published data covers up to 31 August, but this does not account for the major discrepancy with trusts’ own figures provided to HSJ. Trusts began vaccinating staff in December last year, so only small numbers have been carried out in the past few months, until third-dose boosters started in recent days.

University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation Trust’s vaccination figures were listed by the UKHSA as 68.4 per cent for first doses and 55.5 per cent for second doses. However, the trust told HSJ that its true most up-to-date figures were 86.7 per cent and 81 per cent respectively.

Nottingham University Hospitals Trust told HSJ 92 per cent of its total staff had been given a first dose and 89 per cent a second dose. However, the UKHSA reported vaccination rates of the trust’s frontline staff – which account for most of the total – were much lower, at 60.7 per cent and 57 per cent for first and second doses respectively.

The UKHSA’s data lists five trusts as having zero staff double vaccinated, whilst having first dose jab rates of between 81 and 92 per cent. One of them, West London Trust, told HSJ 85.8 per cent of its staff have had their first and second dose.

The UKHSA said only 65 per cent of trusts responded to its request for data in August. There were 75 trusts with no vaccination data listed in the publication last week.

A spokeswoman for Imperial College Healthcare Trust, which was one of these trusts, said: “We report on vaccine uptake among our staff to NHS England each week via the north-west London integrated care system. As of Monday 11 October, 92 per cent of our frontline health and social care workers had received a first dose and 96 per cent of those had received a second dose.”

South London And Maudsley Foundation Trust said it only had records of staff vaccinated at its own trust, rather than those who went to GP-let sites or nearby acute hospitals. According to this data, 57.5 per cent of staff were vaccinated at the trust, but the real numbers of staff vaccinated would be much higher. 

The UKHSA said its data was provided by the trusts. 

Its guidance on the data collection states: “The [healthcare workers’] COVID-19 vaccine uptake data survey is a vital part of COVID-19 surveillance in England and provides important information to assist with the implementation of the vaccination campaign locally, regionally and nationally.

“As such it is highly important that this data is collected accurately and in a timely manner. We understand that many organisations are also submitting a feed of COVID-19 vaccination count data via other point-of-vaccination systems.

“The COVID-19 Frontline Healthcare Workers Vaccine Uptake Survey is currently the only survey which allows collection of data on frontline healthcare workers vaccinated, broken down by occupational staff grouping. As such, it is necessary for this survey to run in parallel with other feeds of COVID-19 vaccination data at this stage.”

Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at UKHSA, said: “Our published data reflects information provided to us by Trusts through a regular survey and is the only published data for frontline healthcare workers broken down by staff groups. It is encouraging that hundreds of thousands of healthcare workers have already received the COVID-19 vaccine, as they are amongst those more susceptible to severe infection.”

“If you are working in healthcare, you should take up both doses to maximise the protection for yourself, your family and your patients – many of whom may be extremely vulnerable – from severe disease and hospitalisation. The higher the uptake among healthcare workers, the lower the risk to the hospital population.”


Figures according to the UKHSA

Trusts with the lowest second dose uptake, excluding five trusts listed as zero:

Trust name (2020 to 2021) Number of HCWs involved with direct patient care Dose 1 Dose 1 vaccine uptake (%) Dose 2 Dose 2 vaccine uptake (%)
Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust 7,101 4,213 59.3 3,198 45.0
Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust 3,342 2,918 87.3 1,529 45.8
Kent And Medway NHS And Social Care Partnership Trust 2,433 1,914 78.7 1,164 47.8
Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust 3,210 1,673 52.1 1,562 48.7
South London And Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust 4,761 3,713 78.0 2,594 54.5
University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust 19,017 13,013 68.4 10,549 55.5
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust 16,298 9,893 60.7 9,282 57.0
University Hospitals Bristol And Weston NHS Foundation Trust 11,376 6,783 59.6 6,485 57.0

Trusts with the highest second dose uptake:

Trust name (2020 to 2021) Number of HCWs involved with direct patient care Dose 1 Dose 1 vaccine uptake (%) Dose 2 Dose 2 vaccine uptake (%)
The Robert Jones And Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 1,452 1,404 96.7 1,377 94.8
Dudley Integrated Health And Care NHS Trust 270 256 94.8 253 93.7
Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust 8,628 8,153 94.5 8,044 93.2
East Of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust 6,211 5,962 96.0 5,757 92.7
Milton Keynes Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 4,235 4,173 98.5 3,902 92.1

 Updated at 4:50pm, 11 October 2021 to include comment by UKHSA.