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Flu campaign begins across East Berkshire to target those who are eligible for the free vaccination

Commissioners in East Berkshire have launched their annual fight against flu working closely with partners, GPs and other health professionals.

Whilst we have been particularly spoilt with fabulous weather this year, the colder months are not too far away, thus it is important that we all take relevant steps to help keep well this winter.

Flu occurs every year and is a highly infectious disease with symptoms that come on very quickly. Having your flu vaccination can help protect you and others.

Some people are more susceptible to the effects of flu. For them, it can increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, or can make existing conditions worse. In the worst case, flu can result in a hospital stay or even death.

The best way to avoid catching and spreading flu is by having the vaccination before the flu season starts which is usually around December time.

The flu vaccination is available free on the NHS for various groups and individuals that could be particularly vulnerable to complications.

This year, the following are eligible for the free flu vaccination:

  • All children aged two to nine (but not ten years or older) on 31 August 2018
  • Pregnant women
  • Aged 65 years or over (including those becoming age 65 years by 31 March 2019)
  • Those in long-stay residential care homes
  • Carers
  • Healthcare workers
  • People with learning disabilities and their carers
  • Those aged six months to under 65 years of age with a serious medical condition which include chronic (long term) respiratory disease, such as severe asthma; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or bronchitis; chronic heart disease, such as heart failure; chronic kidney disease at stage three, four or five; chronic liver disease; chronic neurological disease such as Parkinson’s disease or motor neurone disease, or learning disability; diabetes; splenic dysfunction; weakened immune system due to disease (such as HIV/AIDS) or treatment (such as cancer treatment); morbidly obese (defined as BMI of 40 and above).

If you do not fall within any of the above groups, you can still have the vaccination by paying for it at your local pharmacist.

The most common symptoms of flu are fever, chills, headache, extreme tiredness and aches and pains in the joints and muscles. Healthy individuals usually recover within a week, but for some the disease can lead to hospitalisation, permanent disability or even death. If you do get the flu make sure you rest, drink plenty of fluids and eat healthily. Taking over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to reduce any fever or discomfort, can also help.

Flu is caused by influenza viruses and not bacteria. Therefore, antibiotics will not help to treat it. However, if there are complications from getting flu, antibiotics may be needed.

When an infected person coughs or sneezes, they spread the flu virus in tiny droplets of saliva over a wide area. These droplets can then be breathed in by other people or they can be picked up by touching surfaces where the droplets have landed. You can prevent the spread of the virus by covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and washing your hands frequently or using hand gels to reduce the risk of picking up the virus.

Associate Director for Nursing and Quality, Jo Greengrass, from the East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Getting your flu vaccine is easy. Simply call and book an appointment with your doctor, midwife or pharmacy.

“Some GP surgeries across East Berkshire are offering flu clinics on certain dates/ times for those who are eligible for the free vaccine, so it would be worth you checking these details by either calling your practice or by visiting their website. Some surgeries are sending out invitations to attend these clinics.

“This year, a new vaccine is being offered to those aged 65 and over which has been shown to be more effective with older people and aims to give better protection which could reduce GP flu related consultations, hospital stays and prevent deaths in the worst cases. Your GP or Pharmacy are receiving this vaccine in three stages between now and November so if there is a slight delay, people should not worry as they will receive the vaccination in time.

She added: “If you have a long term condition such as asthma, diabetes, a neurological disease or chronic liver, kidney or lung disease, or indeed if you are pregnant, then protecting yourself against flu is vital.

“Flu can also be serious for young children and because they mix with so many family members they are called ‘superspreaders’. For these reasons, we feel it is really important for them to be vaccinated to protect themselves and those around them.”

This year, children in Reception, Years 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 (but not ten years or older) will be offered the free flu vaccination in the form of a nasal spray in schools. Children aged two to three will continue to have their vaccine by their GP.

The strain of flu can change each year so even if you were vaccinated last year, you are being advised to vaccinate again this year.

This is the first of a series of press releases to be published by the East Berkshire CCGs as part of their on-going efforts to ensure people Stay Well this winter.

Essential Conversations at End of Life

An intermediate level communications course delivered by palliative care specialists.

This course explains the importance of good communication with people approaching the end of their lives and those close to them.

You will explore effective communication methods and have an opportunity to practice your skills on how to deal with difficult conversations, run by Thames Hospice.

See poster for more information.

 

Sport in Mind Berkshire East Timetable (September)

Sport in Mind delivers free sport and physical activity sessions to help people experiencing mental health issues (18+). All sessions are delivered by qualified coaches and are drop-in sessions, so no need to book in advance. They are open to all abilities, with the aim of having fun in a safe and supported environment. They provide all the equipment so participants will just need to wear comfy clothes and maybe bring a bottle of water!

There has been a change to the Maidenhead Badminton and Table tennis session. This will now run from 12.00-1.00 on a Friday at the Magnet Leisure Centre and the table tennis and the badminton will both run during the hour, rather than a 2 hour session previously. This is starting from this week ( starting Friday 14th September).

Sport in Mind Timetable.

 

Carers UK - Fairer for Carers

Carers UK would like your help by adding your support to their call to Government to increase Carer's Allowance to match the changes being made in Scotland.

In Scotland, Carer's Allowance is going up by £8.50 per week to the same level as Jobseeker's Allowance, which they have welcomed. In the short term, they want Carer's Allowance in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to be raised by at least £8.50 to match the positive changes being made in Scotland.

This is just the first step. In the long term, Carers UK wants to see Carer's Allowance and the Carer Premium significantly increased for all carers in the UK, rising annually with Government adjustments for inflation.

Visit here to support the campaign.

Share your views to help improve public information about NHS Continuing Healthcare

Evolving Communities CIC in collaboration with Beacon have an opportunity for individuals to improve the quality and accessibility of NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) information.

They want to hear from you if you are an individual or their representative and have gone through the CHC assessment process (Checklist and/or full assessment). They are interested in how you accessed information about CHC throughout the entire process.

This work is being commissioned by NHS England (NHSE) and will help them develop a national CHC information resource.

The project has two stages, an online survey and a series of focus groups across England.

An online survey that will take no more than 10 minutes to complete. This is open to anyone who has experience of any part of the referral and assessment process.

Four focus groups taking place in mid-late September in Birmingham, Leeds, London and Bristol. Participants must have experience of the full assessment process.

The survey:

They invite anyone who has experience of being assessed for CHC, or representing another person who was being assessed, to complete a 10-minute online survey. It aims to gather insights into the quantity, quality and accessibility of CHC information – and whether this varies across the country and according to care needs.

It will collect some details about you/the person you represent and ask for your views on the information, or lack of it, that you received throughout the CHC process. For example:

  • How easy was it to find information at each stage?
  • Did you receive too much/not enough information?
  • Was it easy to read and understand?
  • What was your decision letter like? Did it tell you how the eligibility criteria were applied?
  • What type of information would have been useful?

The survey is anonymous, so you do not need to provide your name. You only need to complete the questions that you feel comfortable to answer.

You can take part in the online survey until 30 September 2018 by clicking this link: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/CHCinfo

For more information visit their website.

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