Over 65 year olds urged to claim free flu vaccine before the flu season hits

Local people aged 65 and over are being urged to claim their free flu jab before the start of flu season, after figures showed a third of them missed their vaccination last year, adding avoidable pressure on local services.

Local NHS is warning of a difficult winter ahead, especially on A&E departments and local GP surgeries, as they cope with increasing numbers of people seeking treatment.

Last year saw 25 over 65 year olds ending up in hospital Brighton and Hove due to flu, with most of the intensive care admissions in Sussex were older patients. Those requiring hospital care caused extra strain on the NHS last year, with people aged 65 costing the NHS just under £94,000 due to the flu.

Local doctors believe this could have been avoided had those eligible taken up the opportunity to get their free jab. Just over two thirds over 65 year olds in the city had the free flu jab last year, which means thousands went unprotected.

Allison Cannon, Chief Nurse Officer for East Surrey and Sussex Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “Local NHS staff are doing everything they can to prepare for the extra pressures expected over winter, which could be even tougher than the last for the NHS.

“The vaccine for over 65 year olds could reduce GP flu consultations and hospitalisations, freeing up busy NHS staff to provide care for those in most need, so we are calling on those eligible to claim their free flu jab so they don’t add unnecessary pressures to local health and care services.”

­­Practices will receive their flu vaccine stock over the coming weeks, those aged over 65 years old should contact their GP practice to claim their free flu jab.

Find out more about the flu vaccine at www.nhs.uk

Download the Easyread flu guidance for people with learning difficulties.

Flu vaccination: who should have it this winter and why - further information in different languages from www.nhs.uk