NHS staff from across Cumbria are once again gearing up for this season’s flu jab as part of the fight against flu circulating in the community.
North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust (NCUH) and Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) are determined to beat last year’s record and make 2018/19 the year that they vaccinate more staff than ever.
Last year, the two trusts recorded their best ever vaccination rates with NCUH vaccinating 78.8% and CPFT vaccinating 73.5% of all front line staff against flu to protect themselves, their patients and their families. This was much higher than the national average of 68.7% (figures from Public Health England) and NCUH was one of only 27.5% of all trusts to achieve more than 75% of staff vaccinated.
The vaccine is the most effective way to protect against flu and NHS staff can carry the flu virus with no symptoms so being vaccinated is vital in the fight to protect patients.
Public Health England estimates that an average of 8,000 people die from flu in England each year – last year, that figure was 15,969. The new flu vaccine could prevent 700 deaths, over 2000 hospitalisations and 30,000 GP consultations in those aged 65 and over in England this winter.
Stephen Eames, chief executive of both trusts, said: “Last year was an absolutely fantastic year for our staff getting their flu jabs, NCUH were one of the best performing trusts in the region and CPFT had their best ever result.
“I’m really behind the flu fighter campaign once again. Our teams at both trusts have been really involved and proactive with the campaign, and are determined to increase the amount of people taking up the vaccination this year.
“I’ll be getting my vaccine at Trust Board this week and want to encourage all of our frontline NHS staff to have theirs. Not only is this a quick and simple procedure, with little or no side effects, but it can also save lives. The vaccination will protect our employees this winter, and also their families, colleagues and patients.”
The vaccinations are provided free of charge to all employees and are effective against four of the strains which will be most prevalent this year.
Jane Osborne, deputy sister for the medical procedures unit at NCUH, said: “It’s really important for all staff to get the flu jab, we deal with some of the most vulnerable patients here and flu could be devastating or potentially life threatening so it’s important to keep our patients safe. It’s also about keeping yourself and your colleagues protected to stop the virus spreading.”
Meryl Lawrenson, professional lead for infection prevention & nursing at CPFT, added: “If you are in a high risk group; over 65, pregnant or have certain medical conditions, its important you get yourself vaccinated at the earliest opportunity.”
GPs are urging anyone who is eligible for a free flu jab to contact their GP surgery where they can make an appointment or book into a flu clinic.
Who is eligible:
- People aged 65 or older
- People with long-term conditions such as COPD, bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, diabetes or heart or kidney disease.
- Children aged two and three years old will be offered this vaccination by nasal spray. Your child’s GP surgery should contact you.
- Children in reception class and school years 1, 2, 3 & 4 will be offered the vaccine at school. Your child’s school will provide details from the local healthcare team.
For more advice please visit http://www.northcumbriaccg.nhs.uk/health-services/stay-well-this-winter/stay-well-this-winter.aspx