Be a #FluFighter this winter

Brace yourself folks – the flu season has arrived, which can bring the dreaded running nose, scratchy throat, cough, body aches, a high fever and thumping headache of the seasonal flu.  The good news is you can easily help protect yourself and your loved ones by getting the flu vaccine.

Talking from personal experience you don’t want to get the flu? You feel absolutely dreadful, everything hurts and you find it hard to get out of bed.

So why would you put yourself or your family through this, when a vaccine is available? Getting a flu vaccine only takes a couple of minutes out of your day. Getting the flu however, can mean time off work, not to mention missed events and opportunities.

As you know I’m passionate about patient safety. As health professionals, we have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for the people who come under our care. When you get a flu vaccine, you are not only protecting yourself from the flu, but you are also protecting the people around you who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness. This includes older people, young children, pregnant women, and people with certain medical conditions who are at a higher risk of developing serious complications from the flu, such as pneumonia.

While staff vaccination numbers have increased over the past year, there are still some people who are more resistant to having the vaccine than others. To those people, I ask you to think about your responsibility to your patients.   If you were a patient would you want to be treated by someone who has the potential to pass on the flu or would you want to be treated by someone who is doing all they can to keep you and themselves safe? In other words, having the flu vaccine is part of the ‘granny test’.

I’ve had two types of flu. I’ve had man flu and the proper flu and boy do I know the difference. That’s why every year I get a flu shot to protect myself and those around me.   As for the myths out there, there are plenty. Be assured the flu vaccine won’t give you the flu, it doesn’t hurt (only a tiny sting) and it won’t make your arm drop off.  For more flu myth-busting facts click here

If you have time, check out community clinic nurse Sam Phohe’s personal flu survival story. It was her job to promote the flu vaccine to her patient’s but as she lay in a coma it became clear she forgot to get one herself.

I’ve had my flu shot, have you?


Author: Geraint Martin

Geraint Martin was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Counties Manukau DHB in December 2006. It is one of the largest District Health Boards in New Zealand and services a population of half a million. He has significant experience over 30 years in national policy & in managing both primary and secondary care . Previously, he was Director of Health and Social Care Strategy at the Welsh Government .He authored a radical 10 year strategy of reform, including the successful “Saving 1000 lives” Campaign.Until 2004, he was CEO at Kettering General Hospital & had held senior positions in London & Birmingham.He has worked closely with clinicians in improving clinical standards,patient safety,chronic disease management & managing acute care to reduce hospital demand.In NZ, He has promoted clinical quality and leadership as central to improving patientcare. This has led to a significant increases in productivity and access, whilst maintaining financial balance. CMH has completed in 2014 a $500 m capital redevelopment programme, the largest in New Zealand. A central part of this is the establishment of Ko Awatea,the Centre for Innovation and Research which will underpin CMH as one of the the leading health systems in Australasia.In 2008, he chaired the Ministerial Review of Emergency Care in New Zealand, and in 2013 was an member of the Expert Advisory Panel on Health Sector Performance. Geraint has an MSc in Health Policy from Birmingham University .His post-graduate work has focused on health economics and Corporate Strategy . He is adjunct Professor of Healthcare Management at AUT and Victoria University, Wellington Elected in 2006 as a Companion of the Institute of Healthcare Management, previously he was an Associate Fellow at Birmingham University.He is is Chair of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, a member of the Institute of Directors, on the Board of the NZ Institute of Health Management & previously the Board of The NZ Health Quality and Safety Commission.

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