Health trust giving flu jabs to homeless

Health staff are hoping a drive to provide homeless people with flu jabs will save lives on the borough's streets this winter.

Friday, 8th December 2017, 2:16 pm
Updated Friday, 15th December 2017, 4:25 pm
Janet Rawlings from Bridgewater with The Brick service user Danni Hillier

Employees from Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust have been visiting homelessness organisations to give vaccinations to those without a roof over their heads.

The Trust’s lead nurse for flu Janet Rawlings has been leading the efforts to provide free jabs and prevent the virus spreading among some of the most vulnerable people in Wigan.

Around eight people currently looking for accommodation of their own were given the vaccination at The Brick in Wigan town centre and another session was held in Leigh on the same day.

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The team has also visited Joshua’s Den, a recently-opened night shelter at a Wigan town centre church, to give out vaccinations alongside the health advice and examinations provided there.

Jabs have been provided around the borough for the past fortnight and Bridgewater said the scheme has largely received a positive response from the charities’ service users.

Ms 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.

“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.”

The flu jab providers have been working in partnership with the Health Outreach and Inclusion Team at Bridgewater.

The Trust also works with Wigan Council to provide health assessments, referrals and support to local homeless and vulnerable people.

Chief executive of Bridgewater Colin Scales said: “Flu lead Janet Rawlings and the Health Inclusion and Outreach Team have gone above and beyond over the past few weeks 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.”