Staff at Pennine Acute line up to be vaccinated after terrible Aussie flu season
MORE than half of staff have been vaccinated so far against seasonal flu at the Trust’s four hospitals - North Manchester General Hospital, Rochdale Infirmary, The Royal Oldham Hospital, Fairfield General Hospital in Bury, and community services in North Manchester and Rochdale borough.
Staff and volunteers at the Trust’s hospitals and community services are preparing for what they believe will be a difficult winter and so far hundreds of staff (5,190) have been vaccinated after warnings that the UK could be on track for its worst flu season in years.
Australia has had its worst flu season in a decade and what happens in Australia usually gives us an idea of what will happen over here. Over double the number of flu cases have been confirmed in Australia this year compared with 2016.
Trust staff have lined up in their thousands to get jabbed and do their bit to provide safe patient care and protect their patients, colleagues and their families.
The winter period is the busiest season at the Trust and staff having their flu jab helps to avoid staff sickness, which can place extra pressure on services, as well as protecting vulnerable patients.
The Trust’s annual staff seasonal flu vaccination programme was launched on 1 October 2017 and the aim this season is to get as many staff vaccinated as possible to safeguard patients.
Prof Matt Makin, Medical Director at North Manchester General Hospital, alongside his director leadership colleagues at North Manchester, all want to emphasise the importance of staff having their flu jab. He said:
“Several months ago we were advised by our virologists and infectious diseases specialists how bad a flu season they have had in Australia, including I am sad to say the avoidable deaths of some young people and children. That is why we can’t stress enough how important it is for health professionals to get their flu jab.
“Getting the flu jab is the best way of ensuring you are protected against getting the flu, but also the best way to protect patients, as in some cases the flu can be passed to patients from staff. If we take care of our own health it follows that we will be taking care of our patients’ health.
“By having the flu jab staff are making sure they are able to provide the best care to their patients, during our busiest season, while at the same time avoiding staff sickness, which adds additional pressure to the services we provide over winter. Having the flu jab helps to prevent a serious flu outbreak at our hospitals and in the local community.”
Influenza is dangerous, highly contagious and largely preventable. According to NHS Employers’ Flu Fighter campaign vaccination uptake in healthcare workers with direct patient care continues to increase.
During the 2016 to 2017 flu season, 63.2 percent of frontline healthcare workers across all Trusts with direct patient contact were reported to have received the seasonal vaccine in England, up from 50.6 percent in the 2015 to 2016 season.
For further information about the flu vaccination, including who should have it, visit www.nhs.uk
If you are a member of the public and you would like to get vaccinated please ask your GP practice about the flu jab.
Pictured (left to right): Simon Featherstone, Nurse Director; Damien Finn, Chief Officer; Prof Matt Makin, Medical Director; Stephanie Gibson; Managing Director – all from the North Manchester Care Organisation.