Call for public to get flu jab as strain on hospitals revealed

People in South Tyneside have been urged to get a flu jab after the pressure the illness is putting on hospitals was revealed.

The pressure  flu is placing on hospitals in the North East has been revealed.
The pressure flu is placing on hospitals in the North East has been revealed.

Weekly figures have been released by NHS trusts across the North East, with hospital chiefs saying there has been a big rise in the number of flu cases over recent weeks.

South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust has revealed that nine people were admitted to hospital in the borough over the last week with flu, including three new confirmed cases in the last 24 hours.

People are being urged to get the flu jab in a bid to stop the virus spreading further – and ease the strain on hospitals.

A joint statement on behalf of all NHS providers in the North East said: “There is a lot of flu out in the community at the moment and over the past few weeks we have seen a significant rise in the number of people who are seriously affected by the virus and have required hospital admission. This includes some patients needing ventilation and help with their breathing.

“The flu vaccine is the best protection we have against the seasonal flu virus which can cause severe illness and even deaths for those who are most vulnerable.

“It is really important that everyone who is eligible, including all frontline NHS staff, get the flu jab ASAP to protect themselves and others.”

Over recent weeks, those suffering with flu-like symptoms have been advised to stay away from hospital if possible, unless their symptoms become severe.

The North East’s NHS providers have reiterated that advice.

The statement from the providers added: “For everyone else, although flu is a nasty virus it will get better without the need to attend hospital – if you need advice the pharmacist or 111 offer the best approach.

“Flu is highly infectious and we are urging people with symptoms to stay away from hospital to help ease the pressure on our busy teams and stop the virus spreading.

“Meanwhile, to help ensure that patients who really need emergency care receive the quickest possible treatment, members of the public should only dial 999 or attend emergency care for serious medical emergencies.”

There were higher figures elsewhere in the North East.

City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust had 49 new cases of people being admitted to flu over the last week, while there was an even higher figure in Newcastle, where there were 77 confirmed inpatient cases.