Hospital bosses have defended a controversial flu jab film which has prevoked the wrath of the UK’s biggest union.
Unison has called for immediate withdrawal of the video, which it dubbed “ill-judged” and ‘inappropriate’.
The short film uses a parody of the movie Reservoir Dogs to encourage workers at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to get vaccinated against flu, to protect themselves and patients.
As reported in yesterday’s Gazette, the health-conscious ‘gangsters’ who star in the tongue-in-cheek film – The Flu Fighters – forcibly administer the injection to various hospital staff.
Unison said it objected to violence being used on the hospital site in the film, the fact drugs were being administered against the will of recipients and men were seen bundling a female member of staff into a side room.
Sean Gibson, Unison regional organiser, said: “Unison supports the campaign to ensure all NHS staff receive flu vaccinations, but this video is not the right way to do it.
“The vaccination is not compulsory.
“We know having the jab helps protect staff, patients and families, but there are any number of reasons why people might not want to have it and the message at the end of this video ‘don’t make us send the boys round’ is threatening.
“Senior management at the trust should not have authorised this video.
“Producing a parody of a violent film, set on the hospital site, is wholly inappropriate.”
But hospital bosses hit back, saying they were “very disappointed” at the reaction to a “fun film with a serious message.”
Gary Doherty, chief executive of the trust, said: “The short film, starring hospital staff – all of whom volunteered and were keen to take part, is very obviously a spoof, which is not intended to cause any offence or encourage inappropriate behaviour.
“The video has had more than 1,400 hits on YouTube and we have not received complaints from our staff.”
Blackpool councillor Tony Williams, from the band Stealer’s Wheel, who sang the hit song Stuck in the Middle With You – used in Reservoir Dogs, said: “I haven’t seen the video myself, but people who have done, have told me they weren’t offended.
“It’s just using a theme from a cult movie and I think if that helps get the message across about the flu vaccination then that’s good.
“I will be having my flu jab next week.
“It seems Unison may be being a bit narrow-minded, as the video gets an important message across in a creative way and a way which will grab people’s attention.”
In the original film, the Stealer’s Wheel hit is heard playing during a scene in which ‘Mr Blonde’ tortures a bound police officer while dancing.
A spokesman for the NHS Employers organisation also gave backing to the video.
He said: “Staff vaccinations can save lives.
“Blackpool has a track record of making innovative videos and as a result has high levels of staff vaccinations.
“I’m sure they would be mortified if they thought they had caused any offence.
“This film is clearly a spoof and we wouldn’t let discussion detract from the key message.”
Click here to read how The Gazette originally reported the story: VIDEO: ‘Reservoir Docs’ urge staff to get flu jab