Staff at Whiston and St Helens hospitals are leading the fight against flu after being warned that this could be one of the worst years for deaths from the virus.
Their #WhatsYourReason campaign, urges staff to think about the reasons they should have their flu jab. Nurses, doctors, midwives, and even the Chief Executive of the hospitals, Ann Marr, explain why they have their flu jab each year.
From contact with vulnerable and seriously ill patients, to day to day life with their own families, the healthcare staff show how easy it would be to pass on the virus, and why it is vital that they protect everyone they come into contact with.
The new flu season always begins in the southern hemisphere, as their winter comes before ours.
This year, flu has hit hard with an estimated 156% increase in the number of reported cases in Australia alone. At least 288 flu-related deaths have been reported in Australia; over 85s and children between 5-9 years have been hit hardest. Flu is particularly dangerous for patients with long-term health conditions, those with an acute illness, pregnant women, young children and the over 65s.
Sue Redfern, Director of Nursing, said: “In St Helens, over 20% of the population are over 65 years of age, this is higher than the national average. There are over 12,000 children in the Borough aged 5 and under. These are people that due to their age and the greater risks of them becoming ill, our staff come into contact with on a daily basis.
“We must do everything we can to protect them and ourselves. In these critical winter months, it is vital that the hospitals are prepared and our staff are able to look after the patients who need us most.”
The hospitals performed exceptionally well last year with over 80% of staff having their flu jab, this made the hospitals the second best performing Trust in the country. However, it is vital that staff are vaccinated each year as the vaccine lasts approximately six months and the strains of flu can vary between seasons.
Mrs Redfern added: “Our staff are extremely proactive in getting their flu jab each year, but we never rest on our laurels and want as many as possible to protect themselves and their patients.”