Healthcare Professionals

This section is intended for healthcare professionals and associated healthcare employees in the UK only – this includes GPs, nurses, practice managers, GP practice administration support, pharmacists and pharmacy counter assistants.

If you are not a healthcare professional or healthcare employee, you should not enter this section – information regarding flu can be found on the main website.

I AM A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL OR ASSOCIATED EMPLOYEE I AM NOT A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL OR ASSOCIATED EMPLOYEE

Flu Risks If You Are A Healthcare Worker Or Social Staff

Because flu is contagious, an outbreak can occur in places such as hospitals and residential homes1. This puts patients, residents, staff and visitors alike at risk of infection1.

If you are a healthcare or social care worker, it’s important to help protect yourself from flu so that you can continue to care for others, but you also need to help protect the people you come into direct daily contact with.

This is because you risk passing on the flu virus to them, which could be dangerous if they are have health conditions that could put them at risk of developing serious complications from the flu2. Particularly if you work with people who come into the following high-risk groups:

These complications from flu could include bronchitis or pneumonia, a higher risk of hospitalisation2 or it could make their existing health condition worse3.

 

Protecting yourself and the people you care for from flu

The flu viruses predominantly circulate during the winter. So you should think about how to help protect yourself and the people you care for as the flu season approaches.

Vaccination is the most effective way to avoid developing the flu4. Prevention is particularly important for healthcare workers, as you can contract and pass on the virus days before you experience any symptoms or take any time off sick5.

Vaccination can also help to prevent the spread of flu in residential homes6, and can help to keep the NHS running effectively during a flu outbreak, when GPs and hospitals may be particularly busy6.

It is your employer’s responsibility to arrange and cover the costs of a flu vaccination for you7,8:

  • If you are a front-line NHS worker with direct patient contact, the NHS will pay for your vaccination
  • If you are a social care worker, your employer – whether it is your local authority or a private company – should pay for your vaccination

You can get your free flu vaccination* at your GP surgery or in a pharmacy. Most pharmacies in the UK now offer both the NHS free flu jab as well as a private jab. This might be a more convenient option for you. Enter your postcode in the search box above to find your nearest local flu clinic.

*Free NHS jabs are available only to those who fall within the current risk categories.

 

References

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Interim Guidance for Influenza Outbreak Management in Long-Term Care Facilities. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/infectioncontrol/ltc-facility-guidance.htm (accessed July 2017)

2. NHS. Flu and the flu vaccine. http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/winterhealth/Pages/Fluandthefluvaccine.aspx (accessed July 2017)

3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People at High Risk of Developing Flu-Related Complications. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/high_risk.htm (accessed July 2017)

4. World Health Organization. Influenza (Seasonal) Fact Sheet No. 211, November 2016. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs211/en/index.html (accessed July 2017)

5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How Flu Spreads. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/spread.htm (accessed July 2017)

6. NHS. Flu Jab FAQs. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/pages/flu-vaccine-questions-answers.aspx (accessed July 2017)

7. NHS. Who should have the flu jab. July 2016. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/pages/who-should-have-flu-vaccine.aspx (accessed July 2017)

8. Public Health England, Department of Health and NHS England. Flu immunisation programme letter 2017/2018, 2017. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data
/file/600880/annual_flu__letter_2017to2018.pdf
(accessed July 2017)

 

Adverse Event Reporting

I AM A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL OR ASSOCIATED EMPLOYEE I AM NOT A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL OR ASSOCIATED EMPLOYEE