Patients across Stockton, Hartlepool and the surrounding areas have issued a plea to members of the public to help them stay well this winter.
In a series of hard hitting videos from North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, patients are asking those who are able, to take advantage of the flu vaccination. In the UK the estimated number of excess deaths thought to be due to seasonal flu varies each year, but has been as high as 10,000, and in years of a flu epidemic this estimate has reached more than 20,000.
The Trust has already launched an internal campaign appealing to staff to take up their vaccination at the earliest opportunity, and this week the organisation will start to release the emotional pleas via their social media channels.
Ruth Dalton, Head of Communications and Marketing explains the need to deliver such an impactful message ‘the colder months are always hard for the health care system, pressures mount and the number of patients our colleagues see increases dramatically. We really believe that by working to appeal to as many people as possible to have their flu vaccination will help us to keep our most vulnerable safe. We wanted to deliver the real impact of flu for real people with long term conditions. Some of the videos make for difficult viewing, but by working with patients in our immediate locality, we felt that the residents of Stockton, Hartlepool and the surrounding areas might connect to the message’.
NHS England (www.nhs.co.uk) recommends that the following groups of people are given the vaccination:
The flu vaccine is routinely given on the NHS to:
- adults 65 and over
- people with certain medical conditions (including children in at-risk groups from 6 months of age)
- pregnant women
- children aged 2 and 3 on 31 August 2019
- children in primary school
- frontline health or social care workers
Chris Tulloch, Deputy Medical Director for North Tees and Hartlepool adds ‘this is such an avoidable issue. For vulnerable patient groups and individuals, I would absolutely urge them to have the vaccination and save the heartache. Winter is already a more challenging period of time for some people, we want to ensure that they have the best possible chances. This campaign may seem extreme, but the realities of infecting those with already depleted immune systems can be absolutely catastrophic.