Flu season is approaching – get your flu jab now


The clocks have gone back which means winter is on its way. And with winter comes flu. On average, flu kills around 8,000 people a year in England. Getting a flu vaccination is the single best way to protect yourself and others against the flu.

You can have your flu jab at your GP surgery or local pharmacy and for those who are most at risk of suffering serious consequences if they catch the flu, the vaccination is free – it’s free because you need it.

Dr Andrew Girdher, a GP at Box Surgery who had the flu last year, is encouraging those who need the vaccination, to have it:
“For the first time last winter I felt what it was like to experience flu and having a flu jab is definitely on my list of ‘must dos’ at the moment.
“Flu certainly knocked me for six – I had to take five days off work, the first time in 25 years, and I missed the surgery Christmas party. I’m someone who is very fit and active but once I got sick, I was physically unable to get out of my house, even getting out of bed was a challenge.
“People owe it to themselves to get a flu jab before winter, to protect their own health but also to protect the health of their family, work colleagues and friends from the debilitating effects of the flu.
“I also urge all patient-facing workers in health and social care to ensure they get a flu vaccination to reduce the risk to themselves and their patients this winter.”

People who are eligible for a free flu vaccination include:

  • Adults aged 65 and over
  • Adults aged 18-64 with long-term conditions such as COPD, bronchitis, emphysema, diabetes, heart, kidney or liver disease
    or those who have had a stroke
  • Pregnant women
  • Children aged 2-3 years
  • Children in school years: reception, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
  • Carers
  • Health and social care workers.

Get your flu vaccination from your GP practice, or pharmacy before the end of November 2018 to help protect you and those around you this winter.

Flu is a highly infectious illness characterised by a fever, chills, headache, aching muscles and joint paint and fatigue. For most healthy people, flu symptoms can make you feel exhausted and unwell so that you have to stay in bed and rest until you get better.

If you think you may have the flu, stay at home and rest until you feel better. Call NHS 111 if you have an underlying health condition or feel really unwell.

Weekend and evening GP appointments available from 1 October

Wiltshire’s GP Practices are working together to offer people better access to GP appointments in Wiltshire. This means people who are registered with a Wiltshire practice will be able to see a GP, Practice nurse or other health professional at a time which is most convenient for them.

From 1st October 2018, people will be able to pre-book routine appointments to see a GP, practice nurse or other health professional based at Wiltshire GP practices in the evenings from 6.30pm to 8pm, and at weekends and Bank Holidays. In total, an additional 235 hours per week of additional clinical time will be available to 100% of the Wiltshire population.

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, Chairman of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
“This is a Wiltshire-wide initiative, and means that patients who would like an evening appointment, or who need to be seen by a GP at the weekend, can book appointments at a practice in their local area. The appointment offered may not be at your usual practice, but you will not have to travel very far for your appointment. It’s only through groups of GP practices collaborating together that we’ve been able to ensure all Wiltshire patients have this option”.

Appointment types will vary – some being face-to-face, some on the phone – and there will be a mixture of bookable and same-day appointments available across the week. Patients will be triaged to ensure they see the most appropriate healthcare professional who can best deal with their needs, so appointments may also be with a nurse practitioner or a practice nurse. Some appointments will be conducted over the phone, where appropriate.

Dr Lindsay Kinlin, who has led the Wiltshire initiative, said:
“Whatever your local area of Wiltshire, appointments will be offered as usual during the week, but you can be seen at any participating surgery during the evening or weekend. People can book a weekend or evening appointment by contacting their usual surgery during normal opening times. Your practice will explain the process, and ensure the booking is appropriate for your need. We will also request your consent to allow us to share your medical records with the practice where your appointment is due to be. More information is available on your usual GP surgery’s website”.
Dr Richard Sandford-Hill added:
“We will be providing access to primary care services during peak times of demand, including bank holidays and across the Christmas, New Year and Easter periods, but the key is to book through your normal GP surgery. This is not a walk-in service, and patients will only be seen if they have pre-booked their appointment or if they have been advised to see a GP by the 111 service and have been booked in”.