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Wales to offer free flu jabs to care home staff in bid to maximise resilience

Nurses working in adult residential and nursing homes in Wales will be offered free flu vaccinations this winter

Nurses working in adult residential and nursing homes in Wales will be offered free flu vaccinations this winter.


Picture: Tim George

NHS Wales healthcare staff are already eligible for free flu jabs but it will be the first time the vaccination will be offered free to nurses in care homes.

There were 42 flu outbreaks in Welsh care homes last winter, accounting for 60% of the total number of winter outbreaks, according to the Welsh Government.

Resilience

Wales health and social services secretary Vaughan Gething said the government wanted to maximise resilience to flu.

‘Vaccination of staff has been shown to be effective in reducing the spread of disease and patient mortality in care homes,’ he said.

‘It can also help to reduce flu-related staff illness and the need to provide locum cover.’

Mr Gething said reducing the spread of flu in care homes will help regulate demand for services in winter.

‘The social care sector has a crucial role to play in preventing hospital admissions over the winter, particularly for older people,’ he said.

Targets

The latest Welsh Government data show 57.9% of NHS staff in Wales in direct contact with patients received the flu vaccination in the 2017/2018 winter period. The uptake target is 60%.

Last month, NHS England revealed 65.2% of nurses received the flu vaccination, up from 58.4% the previous year. England has no target for uptake.

Scotland has reported a 40% flu jab uptake among its health workers and like England has no target.

The NHS workforce uptake for Northern Ireland was 33% – the target figure is 40%.


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