Leaders from health and social care organisations across Chorley, South Ribble and Greater Preston are encouraging local people to have the flu jab, as they lead the fight against the winter illness.
Karen Partington, Chief Executive at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Denis Gizzi, Chief Officer for the Clinical Commissioning Groups in central Lancashire; Heather Tierney-Moore, Chief Executive of Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, and Louise Taylor, Executive Director of Adult Services and Health and Wellbeing at Lancashire County Council have all received their flu jabs and are now asking at-risk groups and staff to do the same.
The winter flu vaccine is available for free to people who are most at risk of complications from flu, including people aged 65 and over, those with long term conditions and pregnant women.
Children aged 2, 3 and up to year 5 in schools are also offered the free vaccine, received through a nasal spray.
Denis said: “We all know about the additional pressure that an increase in winter illnesses puts on our health and social care services, so we are working together to plan for the increase in demand that we see over winter.
“We’re now saying to people; help us help you this winter by taking up the offer of a free flu jab if you are eligible for it.”
Frontline NHS and social care staff are also doing their bit in the fight against flu this winter, with staff across all organisations being offered the vaccine for free.
Karen added: “We are committed to protecting our patients by having as many staff as possible vaccinated against the flu. More than half of our staff have already had their flu jab and we’ll continue to make every effort to get even more staff vaccinated. Our new dedicated flu nurses have been visiting wards and departments to offer staff the jab, as well as hosting flu clinics across our sites. All of this will continue throughout the winter period as we aim to reduce the risk of our patients being exposed to the nasty flu virus.”
Heather commented: “People living with long-term health conditions are at high risk of developing a serious illness if they develop the flu, for some this can even mean a hospital admission. The flu jab is free of charge for anyone with a long-term condition such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes and so we are encouraging all of our staff and patients to get their flu jab today.”
Social services and care home staff are also offered the jab for free to help protect older people. Louise added: “Older people are more likely to catch and have complications from flu, which can lead to them being hospitalised. It’s really important that we do all we can to protect our more vulnerable residents from the flu virus.”
The flu vaccine is just one of the ways you can stay well this winter. For more information on how to avoid winter illnesses, visit www.nhs.uk/staywell.
(L-R, Louise Taylor, Heather Tierney-Moore, Denis Gizzi. Seated, Karen Partington receives the flu jab from Lancashire Teaching Hospitals' Occupational Health nurse Judy Dennis)