Flu and the Flu Vaccine
Flu is a highly infectious illness that spreads rapidly through the coughs and sneezes of people who are carrying the virus.
If you're at risk of complications from flu, make sure you have your annual flu jab available from September onwards.
Flu symptoms can hit quite suddenly and severely. They usually include fever, chills, headaches and aching muscles. You can often get a cough and sore throat.
Because flu is caused by a virus and not bacteria, antibiotics won't treat it.
Anyone can get flu, but it can be more serious for certain people, such as:
- people aged 65 or over
- people who have a serious medical condition
- pregnant women
If you are in one of these groups, you're more vulnerable to the effects of flu (even if you're fit and healthy) and could develop flu complications, which are more serious illnesses such as bronchitisand pneumonia, which could result in hospitalisation.
Flu can also make existing medical conditions worse.
Read more about flu.
Should you have the flu jab?
See your GP about the flu jab if you’re 65 or over, or if you have any of the following problems (however old you are):
- a serious heart complaint
- a chest complaint or breathing difficulties, including asthma, bronchitis and emphysema
- serious kidney disease
- lowered immunity due to disease or treatment such as steroid medication or cancer treatment
- if you have a problem with your spleen or you have had your spleen removed
- if you have ever had a stroke
Your GP may advise you to have a flu jab if you have serious liver disease, multiple sclerosis (MS)or some other diseases of the nervous system.
Can I get a flu jab privately?
Yes, you can pay for the flu vaccination privately if you’re unable to have it on the NHS. It is available from some pharmacies and GPs on a private patient basis.
Pregnant women and the flu jab
If you're pregnant, you should have the flu jab, regardless of the stage of pregnancy you've reached. Pregnant women are more prone to complications from flu that can cause serious illness for both mother and baby.
If you are pregnant and catch flu, talk to your GP urgently as you may need treatment with antiviral medicine.
Read more about the flu jab in pregnancy.
Children and the flu jab
You may have read that all children are now able to have the flu jab on the NHS. This isn't quite true. Although it's been recommended that all children between the ages of 2 and 17 should have an annual flu vaccination, this won't be offered to them on the NHS until 2014. For more information read our flu vaccine for children Q&A.
In the meantime, it's important that children with a long-term health condition receive the flu jab because their illness could get worse if they catch flu. This includes any child over the age of six months with a long-term health problem such as a serious respiratory or neurological condition.
If you have a child with a long-term condition, speak to your GP about whether they should have the flu vaccination.
Carers and the flu jab
If you’re the carer of an elderly or disabled person, make sure they’ve had their flu jab. As a carer, you could be eligible for a flu jab too. Ask your GP for advice, or read our information about Flu jabs for carers.
How to get the flu jab
If you think you need a flu vaccination, check with your GP, practice nurse or your local pharmacist.
The best time of the year to have a flu vaccination is in the autumn from September to early November. Most GP surgeries arrange flu vaccination clinics around this time. It’s free and it's effective against the latest flu virus strains.
Even if you've already had a flu jab in previous years, you need another one this year. The flu jab may only protect you for a year. This is because the viruses that cause flu are always changing.
The pneumo jab
When you see your GP for a flu jab, ask whether you also need the 'pneumo jab' to protect you against some forms of pneumococcal infection. Like the flu jab, it’s available free on the NHS to everyone aged 65 or over, and for younger people with some serious medical conditions.
How effective is the flu jab?
No vaccine is 100% effective, however, people who have had the flu jab are less likely to get flu. If you do get flu despite having the jab, it will probably be milder than if you haven’t been vaccinated.
The flu jab doesn’t cause flu as it doesn’t contain live viruses. However, you may experience side effects after having the jab, such as a temperature and aching muscles for a couple of days afterwards. Your arm may feel sore at the site where you were injected. More severe reactions are rare.
The flu vaccine only protects against flu, but not other illnesses caused by other viruses, such as the common cold.
Who shouldn’t have the flu jab?
You shouldn't have the flu vaccination if:
- you've had a serious reaction to a flu vaccination before
- you have a high temperature (postpone it until you're better)
Not all flu vaccines are suitable for children, so discuss this with your GP beforehand.
Speak to your GP, practice nurse or pharmacist if you have any further questions.
Read more about the flu jab.
You can now book a GP appointment over the weekend or evening at a GP surgery in Chiltern Vale Locality from 1st September 2018. Click here
for more information on how to book an appointment and the practices participating.
Total Online Access: 5,416
Total % Online Access: 41.87%
% Registered Online
Our quarterly newsletter is now available to download. Click here to view it.
For all patients with Online access to the clinical system you can now download the free EVERGREEN app to your phone, tablet, laptop or computer. The app allows you to log into your electronic health record and access online services.
The app is recommended by the NHS.
Click on the link : Evergreen
- You will be able to read what your doctor or nurse has done for you so that you no longer need to try to remember everything.
- Go online where ever you are and order repeat prescriptions or send a secure message to the surgery knowing staff will be able to pick it up and act on it when the surgery opens!
- Go online to check for yourself the results of a blood test or an Xray
- If you fall ill when on holiday you can log into your records and show what your GP can see even though you may be abroad.
It is not part of the GPs responsibilities to provide general blood tests for patients. In the past the surgery used to perform phlebotomy as an extra service but large funding cuts in recent years has meant that this is no longer possible. We have limited staff and space and we must use our resources wisely to deal with matters such as diabetes, smoking, health checks, ECGs and the like.
It IS part of the Luton & Dunstable Hospital's contract to provide this service and they run a walk in clinic for this purpose. We do not perform blood tests if a L&D department tells one of our patients to go back to the surgery. You must attend the L&D walk in clinic.
In order to look after our most vulnerable patient we do offer a small number of appointments for the vulnerable i.e. elderly (75 and older), people with mobility issues, etc. All other patients will have to attend the L&D clinic.
The county offers a home Phlebotomy service for housebound patients so the above arrangements will not apply to them. Home phlebotomy visits will be arranged by the surgery.
The surgery is aware of proposals by the L&D to move their phlebotomy service to the Arndale shopping centre in Luton. This proposal is nothing to do with the surgery.
If any patient has a comment to make regarding phlebotomy please contact the L&D or the Beds CCG directly.
If you live outside the surgery area we are happy to register all new patients as an "Out of Area" Patient. You will agree to do without home visits, but apart from that you will be able to access all the other services we offer. Registrations can be done online or at reception in the surgery.
Remember to inform the surgery of any change of name, address, phone number or e-mail.
Much of what we do involves texting patients with information, appointment reminders and even test results.
Please e-mail us on (Priory.Gardens@nhs.net)
DNA ~ Did Not Attend
I make no apologies for returning to this subject. In August we experienced another 180 appointments where patients failed to show up and did not advise us beforehand.
In the last 10 months 2,009 appointments have been wasted. The cost of providing these unused appointments is approximately £90,000. The 2,000 appointments are the equivalent of having a doctor sat doing nothing for 2 months.
If you cannot make an appointment, for whatever reason, please let us know. If we get 1 hours notice we have a good chance of giving the appointment to someone else who needs it.
Given the rising demand for appointments and the cost we are unable to ignore this issue any longer. It is a sad fact that if a patient misses appointments and continues to do so they will be required to register with another surgery.
Parent & Guardian Access to Childrens' Notes
Up to now the surgery has generally allowed parental access to the notes of children aged under 16 years. This access was subject to verification and there were some occasions when restrictions applied. We have now received advice from the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) that the limit should now be set at 11 years. Between 11 and 16 years parents would still be able to manage certain functions such as repeat prescriptions or making appointments. On the persons 16th birthday all remaining access would be removed.
In line with the guidance we will soon be changing the access permissions for all parents who have been granted access. If you believe there are special circumstances that apply please contact the surgery, we would suggest via the new Engage Consult facility.
Keep Calm & Respect the Staff
Hardly a day goes by without an incident where the staff are subjected to shouting, foul language, and abuse.
It is unfortunate that a tiny proportion of our patients believe this is an appropriate way to behave.
The surgery operates a zero tolerance policy with regard to any inappropriate behaviour.
Any patient who behaves in this manner will deducted from the practice list and will have to seek a new surgery.
iQuit Stop Smoking Study
Priory Gardens is now working in conjuction with Cambridge University and Cancer Research UK in a study to improve the probability of increasing a persons chances of quitting smoking. You can download an information leaflet here iQUIT Leaflet
Friends & Family Test
The test can now be completed online. To find the test click on he "Have your Say" tab in the right corner.
By clicking on the link you can see a summary of opinions to date: What You Think of Us
I have been handed a mail shot from Pharmcy2U Ltd advising that if you are registered at Priory Gardens Surgery you can register with this firm for the reordering of repeat medications and their delivery. This firm has been acting without the knowledge of the surgery. Patient choice means that patients can register with any pharmacy they wish but we want to make it clear that in line with surgery policy this firm will not be allowed to order medicines on your behalf.
Please help us reduce the number of phone calls
The volume of telephone calls we receive is rapidly increasing & patients with urgent problems or needing to make an appointment often have difficulty getting through. Please help us by noting the following:
If you think you have missed a telephone call from the surgery, there is no need to contact us – if it is important we will always try again!!!
We need at least 3 working days to process repeat prescriptions. Please do not telephone the surgery to check if your prescription is ready.
We would also strongly recommend the use of online services to allow us to help you.