Patients urged to have flu jabs before visiting Derbyshire treatment centre

Staff at a Derbyshire NHS treatment centre are urging patients and visitors to make sure they have their flu jab before visiting the hospital.

The message comes as all 196 staff members at Barlborough NHS Treatment Centre have been offered free flu vaccinations as part of the hospital's pledge to ensure patients can keep receiving the treatment they need this winter.

Head of nursing at Barlborough Treatment Centre, Elaine Bodle, looks on as hospital director Steve Booker gets his jab from nurse Paula Wilcocks

Head of nursing at Barlborough Treatment Centre, Elaine Bodle, looks on as hospital director Steve Booker gets his jab from nurse Paula Wilcocks

Hospital director Steve Booker said: “If you’re due for surgery it is safe to have your flu jab beforehand, provided it is at least two weeks before you are due to come to hospital.

“It is also safe to have a flu vaccination after surgery, but the advice is to leave it for at least two weeks after discharge.”

Last year no operations were cancelled as the result of staff flu at the centre on Lindrick Way.

The team hopes that keeping themselves healthy, and encouraging visitors to do the same, will help keep the centre running at full strength.

Mr Booker said: “We are encouraging all our patients and visitors to be vaccinated before they visit us, and we have offered every single member of staff a free flu shot. This way, we aim to avoid flu throughout the busy winter period so that we avoid unnecessary cancellations of procedures.”

The care team at the centre advises people to take action if they experience the early signs of flu, which include a cough, sore throat, general aches and pains and a fever of above 38ºC.

The clinicians at the centre offer their top seven tips to fend off flu:

- Get vaccinated. Many people qualify for a free flu vaccination, but even if you do not, the costs are not prohibitive and are a good investment for a flu-free winter. Get a vaccination every year, because strains of flu change over time and the effect of the vaccination can wear off after three to four months.

- Think clean. More bugs are spread through handshakes than kissing, so make sure you wash your hands thoroughly and regularly, especially after coming into contact with someone with flu.

- Keep it covered. Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing – a sneeze or a cough can spread the flu virus further than you might think.

- Chuck it. If you have used a tissue, put it in the bin immediately and clean your hands with a sanitiser afterwards.

- No sharing. Wherever possible, avoid sharing crockery, cutlery and towels with other people.

- Clean surfaces. Make sure that surfaces in frequent use, such as phones, keyboards and door handles, are cleaned regularly to avoid spreading the flu virus.

- Stay at home. If you have flu symptoms, stay at home to avoid spreading the virus. Mild flu or cold symptoms can be treated at home.