Responding to Simon Stevens’ call that NHS Trusts make an additional 3000 beds available to respond to what is expected to be a particularly pressurised winter flu season, the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK), is calling on the Government to work to ensure that more social care staff receive the winter flu jab.
Whilst the Government recommends that all adult social care workers receive the flu jab, they are not eligible to receive the vaccination on the NHS.
The flu epidemic in care homes in Wigan last winter, which lead to thirty cases of flu, eight deaths, and Wigan Infirmary and the North West Ambulance Service facing additional pressures, is a case study of the toll that low uptake of flu vaccination among care home staff can have on residents and the NHS.
David Sinclair, Director of the International Longevity Centre – UK said:
‘With Simon Stevens’ call for the NHS to ready itself for a particularly bad winter flu season, it is imperative that adult social care workers are immunised to prevent the vulnerable people they care for contracting influenza and becoming hospitalised.
Influenza is a serious illness which does kill.
We would urge all eligible older people to sign up for their free jab via their GP or pharmacy. For those not eligible for the free jab but who want to protect themselves against the flu, the vaccine is now widely available in pharmacies and supermarkets.