We are urging the public to get vaccinated to protect themselves from the flu as our hospitals see a large number of patients coming through the doors suffering from the virus.
The increase in cases is causing problems with the admissions process as finding safe isolation spaces is becoming increasingly challenging. It also presents a real risk to vulnerable patients already in hospital.
Tom Bingham, senior clinical matron in the intensive care unit, said: “We have multiple patients in the unit at the moment with flu and lots of them are young.
“Many are on mechanical ventilation which is not a pleasant process. We have to sedate you, put a tube down your throat and ventilate you while we tackle the virus
“I would advise anyone eligible for the flu jab to get it. I get it every year and the effects afterwards are very mild.”
Information on flu vaccines can be found on the NHS website.
What’s the impact of flu?
What’s the impact of flu?
My name is Tom Bingham, I’m the senior clinical matron for critical care services at North Tees and Hartlepool Foundation Trust.
Just a short video to highlight the enormous pressure at the moment that flu is having on the entire hospital but in particular critical care services.
We have multiple patients within the unit at the moment. Lots of them are young and requiring a lot of organ support and mechanical ventilation.
That is not a pleasant process and it means that we have to sedate you, we have to put a tube into your throat and we have to put you on a mechanical ventilator to support your breathing while the virus settles down.
Across the organisation not just within critical care and within our respiratory support units, there are also multiple patients who are requiring support from a flu perspective which again is causing a huge pressure on services right across the organisation because as the hospital fills up with flu patients then that creates problems with managing other illnesses and other illness, including an impact on our elective services.
What I would advise anybody to do who’s eligible for the flu jab is to get it. I think it’s a vitally important jab to support and provide health promotion across the Tees Valley.
I get my flu job every year. The symptoms are very mild. Some paracetamol after the vaccination should be absolutely fine and you should be fine within a couple of days.
I think even if you’re not eligible, I would advise it. You can get it from most pharmacies for a small fee. Thank you very much.
How can I help?
The Trust is also asking visitors to stay away from the hospital if they have flu or suspect they may have it.
Chief nurse Lindsey Robertson said: “We know how important it is to visit friends or relatives in hospital. It brightens up the patient’s day and lets you know how your loved one is doing.
“At the moment we are seeing a huge increase in flu on our wards and it’s impacting patients and our colleagues.
“We’re asking our visitors to consider not coming to the hospital if they are ill.
“Simple steps like using tissues and washing hands can be a huge help, as can wearing a mask if you think you may be coming down with something.
“Flu isn’t like a cold. It can be very serious and we need everyone’s help to stop it impacting our services.
“And no one wants to start the New Year with a bout of flu, so getting vaccinated is really important.”