Free Innocultaions For Unpaid Welsh Carers
Half of unpaid carers in Wales are not aware they are eligible for a free flu jab, according to new research. The jabs are an investment in their health and the health of the person they care for. If a carer falls ill, the welfare of the disabled or elderly person being cared for may also be at risk.
The research, a joint project between Crossroads Caring for Carers charity and the National Public Health Service for Wales, provides the results of a survey on flu immunisation among carers in Wales.
Dr Daniel Thomas, Head of Surveillance with the National Public Health Service said, “It’s timely to consider this research, as GP practices plan and prepare their flu campaigns for next winter at this time of year. Flu immunisation is the main way of protecting vulnerable people from influenza and minimising its spread. In 2005, the Welsh Assembly Government added carers to the list of target groups that should be offered seasonal flu immunisation by their
“The Crossroads Caring for Carers charity and the National Public Health Service undertook a postal questionnaire of 762 unpaid carers from six local health board areas across Wales. We found that 51 per cent of those who responded were not aware that they were eligible for free flu immunisation from their GP. Younger carers in particular, did not know about it.”
Angela Roberts, from the charity ‘Crossroads Caring for Carers’ said, “Carers should tell their doctor that they are carers, so that practices can offer them the flu jab. It’s so important for carers to get immunised for flu. It’s an investment in their health and the health of the person they care for. If a carer falls ill, then the welfare of the disabled or elderly person being cared for may also be at risk.
“We will be sharing this research with the Welsh Assembly Government and with a range of health protection colleagues across the UK. It is vital that GPs have the facility to record carer status on their electronic systems. This should make it easier for carers across Wales to get the flu jab and to receive the regular health checks they need.”