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“Stay safe from flu this winter,” say local GPs

02 October 2014


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GPs in Bedfordshire are urging patients at greatest risk from flu (‘influenza’) to protect themselves by getting a free flu jab.

Flu is far more than a bad cold. It is a highly contagious infection that anyone can catch, and it can be a really serious illness for older people and young children, as well as people of all ages with conditions like asthma and other chronic breathing problems, diabetes and heart disease.  Last year 278 people across Bedfordshire died from flu-related illness.

Those at greatest risk are entitled to a free flu jab from their GP. This includes anyone aged 65 and over, young children aged two to four, people with chronic conditions such as severe asthma, diabetes or heart disease, carers and pregnant women. 

Biggleswade GP Dr Alvin Low said: “The flu jab is one of the tried and tested methods of stopping people from becoming seriously ill.”

“I would urge anyone at risk of serious flu to respond to their GP’s invitation to attend their flu clinic and get protected sooner rather than later.

“The flu vaccine changes every year to fight the latest strains of flu. So even if you had a jab last winter you need another one this year to stay safe from flu.”

Many GP practices in Bedfordshire are holding flu clinics this autumn, contact your local GP for dates and times. 

Many pharmacies also offer the vaccination for a small fee, so anyone not eligible for a free flu jab should ask their local pharmacist.

Basic hygiene will help prevent the spread of the flu virus. This means covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, washing hands with soap and water and throwing used tissues in the bin.

Notes to editors

·         More information on staying safe from flu is available from NHS Choices www.nhs.uk

·         Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group is responsible for planning, organising and buying NHS-funded healthcare for the 441,000 people who live in Bedfordshire. This includes hospital, community health and mental health services.

·         BCCG is run by GPs, nurses, hospital doctors and other clinicians – the people you see whenever you come into contact with the NHS. All 55 GP practices in Bedfordshire are members of the CCG which is divided into five areas, which we call localities. These are: Bedford, Chiltern Vale, Leighton Buzzard, Ivel Valley and West Mid Bedfordshire and all of the 55 GP practices in Bedfordshire are members.

·         In 2014-2015, BCCG has a budget of approximately £440m to spend on healthcare services for Bedfordshire. You can read more about how BCCG is organised in our constitution. It explains how we operate, make decisions and our governance structures and processes. You can also read our corporate plan which sets out our priorities and aims for 2014-15.

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