Hospital Trust joins fight to tackle seasonal flu

Chief Executive Paul O’Connor is just one of thousands of Sherwood Forest Hospitals staff who have joined the fight against seasonal flu by getting the flu vaccine.

The Trust’s staff vaccination programme has had a fantastic response, with a huge number of staff taking the opportunity to get protection from developing flu, enabling them to continue providing vital services and protect all those they come into contact with.

Vaccinations are important for protecting staff, their families and their patients, many of whom are particularly vulnerable to flu. Vaccinations also reduce sickness absence during the busy winter period and help reduce the costs associated with absence. Staff are able to get their flu vaccination on wards or at a number of specially arranged clinics without disrupting their daily routines and appointments.

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Paul O’Connor said: “Not being vaccinated against the influenza virus exposes our patients, their families and other staff to the risk of infection and unfortunately, sometimes the results can be serious.

“Getting vaccinated every year is vitally important as the viruses continually change and vaccination immunity decreases over time. This is particularly important for the organisation and the patients who put their health in our hands.

Flu is very contagious and can be spread from one person to another even before symptoms develop. We take patient safety very seriously and our patients can rest assured that having a high proportion of our staff vaccinated will help limit transmission of the virus during flu season.”

Every year in the UK, flu kills hundreds of people who are elderly, very young or weakened by illness and the Trust is also encouraging local people to speak to their GP or other health professional about getting the vaccination. Some people can get this free of charge – this includes: Pregnant women, anyone with a long term condition including diabetes, asthma, kidney disease or heart or chest problems

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People undergoing medical treatment who may have a compromised immune system, people with a neurological condition such as multiple sclerosis (MS) or cerebral palsy, everyone over the age of 65.

Mr O’Connor added: “Getting the flu vaccine is simple, and it’s the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your family from the flu. Vaccination usually takes up to two weeks to be effective, so the sooner you are vaccinated, the better”.