Have a flu jab and help to relieve winter pressures on your local ambulance service.
South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) is urging its staff and members of the public to have a flu jab this winter to protect themselves, family, friends and colleagues against seasonal flu and to help to relieve winter pressures on the ambulance service.
Flu is a highly contagious infection that anyone can catch, and it can be a really serious illness for some. In 2010/11 602 people died from flu in England and almost 9000 patients were admitted to hospital of which 2200 were admitted to intensive care.
It costs an average of £247 for an ambulance resource to attend an incident in the South Central Region. Assuming costs are similar throughout England and that all 9000 patients admitted to hospital with flu in 2010/11 were conveyed to hospital by ambulance having a flu jab this year could result in savings to the ambulance service across England in excess of £2.2 million.
Those at greater risk from flu include people aged 65 or over, pregnant women, and those with long term health conditions such as severe asthma, chest or heart complaints, liver or kidney disease and neurological conditions and diabetes.
From 1 October 2012, those people at most risk will be encouraged to get flu safe with a free flu jab from their GP.
Phil Convery, SCAS Infection Control Lead said:
'Your local ambulance service is encouraging staff and members of the public to get a flu jab to help to relieve seasonal pressures on the service and help ensure that an ambulance response is available to those who will need it over the winter period when demand on the ambulance service is greatest.
The flu vaccine changes every year to fight the latest strains of flu, so even if you had a jab last winter you need another one this year to stay flu safe. The jab doesn't contain the 'live' virus so it cannot give you the flu.
Flu can increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and can make existing conditions much worse. Flu can knock you off your feet and make it hard to look after family members or go to work. In the most serious cases, seasonal flu might land you in hospital - it can even be a killer.
Phil Convery continued:
'The best time to be vaccinated is at the start of the flu season from October to early November, so it's good to get in early and get flu safe in time for the winter. Having a flu jab is quick, safe and free for those most at risk from the virus. Contact your GP now to arrange a convenient appointment for your jab.'
For more information, speak to your GP or local pharmacist, visit www.nhs.uk/flu or http://www.southcentralambulance.nhs.uk/campaigns/winterflucampaign.ashx
Published 8 October 2012