Care home staff and domiciliary care workers in London can now get a free flu jab to help limit the spread of flu and keep elderly care home residents well this winter.
Flu can be more severe for people aged 65 or over and can lead to serious complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia.
Many people attend A&E with flu in the winter months or are admitted to intensive care units and some of these patients are from care homes in the capital.
Every year a few care homes are closed to new admissions due to a flu outbreak, which means more people are delayed in hospital.
In order to limit the spread of flu in care homes, all care home staff in London, including catering and cleaning staff, are now entitled to a free flu jab at their local pharmacy.
Domiciliary care workers who work with elderly people are also entitled to a free flu jab.
All care home staff and domiciliary care workers need to do is go along to their local pharmacy with their staff ID badge.
They are being encouraged to get their flu jab from now until the festive season – the earlier the better.
This is the first time care home staff have been offered a free flu jab in England.
Coupled with the fact that care home residents are already eligible for free flu jabs, it is hoped that this will help reduce the spread of flu in care homes and keep their elderly residents well this winter.
Healthy London Partnership and NHS England (London region) are working to raise awareness of the free flu jab to care home staff and domiciliary care workers in London.
London care homes identified as high users of A&E or ambulance services are being offered targeted support to get them ready for winter, including on-site flu jabs for residents and staff.
Care homes have been issued with simple guidance for staff that highlight how to prevent the spread of infection – including effective hand washing: Guidance on outbreaks of influenza in care homes
Care home staff and domiciliary care workers are also reminded that if they need support from a GP, and can’t reach the patient’s registered GP practice, they should dial 111 and press *6 to be put through to a GP.
Other people eligible for the free flu vaccine are pregnant women, anyone aged 65 years or over, anyone with a long term health condition and carers. Children aged two or three years old are also eligible. Read more at www.nhs.uk/staywell