COLUMN: Stay healthy with a simple flu jab

Dr Suneil Kapadia, Medical Director of United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust. EMN-160718-123342001

Dr Suneil Kapadia, Medical Director of United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust. EMN-160718-123342001

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The air is starting to get a little colder and the dark nights are drawing in which means winter is coming.

We are encouraging ULHT staff, patients and members of the public to protect themselves and their loved ones this winter by getting the flu jab.

Flu is potentially life threatening, especially to our more vulnerable patients such as the elderly and those with impaired immunity. It can also lead to longer stays in hospital for those patients with complex health needs.

The flu vaccination is offered to every ULHT member of staff free of charge. Members of the public can contact their GP to find out more about how to get a flu vaccine. The vaccination is free if you are over 65 years old, are pregnant, have a long term condition (such as diabetes, asthma, heart disease or multiple sclerosis) or are a carer.

Vaccinating staff against flu is also an important infection control measure as part of our annual winter planning process, to help make sure we are as resilient as possible. Having the flu vaccine also helps reduce the level of sickness absences during this busy period.

Hand hygiene is one of the most powerful tools to stop the spread of infections and help to save lives. It’s important to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with hot soap and warm water for a minimum of 30 seconds, particularly after using the toilet and before preparing food.

This year we have introduced peer to peer vaccinations which allows any registered nurse to vaccinate staff on their wards, as long as they received the necessary training.

As I mentioned last month we have had a visit from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) this month which I will share more details on in the future.

Dr Suneil Kapadia is the medical director of United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust