MEDICAL staff in South Tyneside are being encouraged to stay healthy and get the flu jab.
As the National Health Service approaches its busiest time of year, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust is encouraging staff to take steps to protect individuals in their care, as well as themselves, their colleagues and families, by getting immunised.
Medical director Dr Alan Rodgers has launched the trust’s staff flu vaccination campaign by having the jab himself.
Dr Rodgers said: “We have a responsibility to protect vulnerable patients, and the tragic consequences of flu should not be underestimated.
“Each year, hundreds of people in England die because of it, yet, the infection is highly preventable.
“Frontline healthcare workers are more likely to be exposed to the influenza virus, particularly during the winter months when some of the people in their care will be infected, so it is vital in the interests of patient safety for them to have the jab.”
In the coming weeks, the Trust’s occupational health department, supported by members of staff recruited as ‘flu champions’, will be offering the vaccination to staff at special sessions at South Tyneside District Hospital and at community health venues.
The Trust’s chief executive Lorraine Lambert said: “Our staff provide a wide range of services to a large population – in hospital in South Tyneside and in the community in Gateshead, Sunderland and South Tyneside.
“We can help to prevent the spread of influenza by being vaccinated ourselves and, also, by highlighting the importance of immunisation to our patients in high risk groups in the community.
“The vaccination is important for all of our workers because each has a part to play in the delivery of services.
“The vaccination reduces sickness absence so that during the busy Winter period we can continue to provide the best level of care to our patients.”