Staff from Bridgewater vaccinated a total of 42 homeless and vulnerable people in Wigan borough during December.
The initiative was launched by the trust’s Lead Nurse for flu Janet Rawlings in partnership with Bridgewater’s Health Outreach and Inclusion Team who provide health assessments, referrals and support to local homeless and vulnerable people in partnership with Wigan Council.
Sessions have been held at many local project centres which support the homeless such as The Brick in Wigan and The Railway Road Project and Homeless Support Project in Leigh.
Flu vaccinations have also been provided at Joshua Den Project at St George’s Church in Wigan.
Janet Rawlings had the idea to set up the initiative as part of the work she has been carrying out in recent months to provide flu vaccinations to NHS staff based across the trust helping to protect them and their patients from the flu.
Bridgewater’s Flu Lead Janet Rawlings said:
“As a local healthcare provider, it’s important to us that local vulnerable people are protected this winter from contracting flu.
“If you are homeless you’re more likely to experience chest infections, lung disease and other serious long term conditions. However, we know that many homeless people in the borough do not have a GP and so would not be able to access a much-needed free flu vaccination leaving them at risk of becoming seriously ill.
“Many of those we vaccinated confirmed that they wouldn’t normally access healthcare unless it was accident and emergency at local hospitals so they were grateful for the flu jab. We were also able to provide them with a health screening at the same time to address any other health concerns they had.
“By working with the Health Outreach and Inclusion Team, we have been able to reach some of borough’s most vulnerable people and provide them with a flu vaccination which will help to keep them healthier this winter.”
Chief Executive Colin Scales said:
“Bridgewater’s Flu Lead Janet Rawlings and The Health Inclusion and Outreach Team have gone above and beyond over the past few months to protect the borough’s homeless this winter. Their hard work and dedication to helping others is inspiring and I am sure it will contribute to saving lives this winter.”