Doctors issue flu jab plea

Scotland’s doctors are urging patients to steel themselves and get the winter flu jab when contacted to do so by their GP.

The vaccine programme begins this month and will continue throughout the winter months for those people most at risk from the bug - which killed more than 19,000 people in Scotland in winter 2010/11.

By having the vaccination, patients aged over 65 and those ‘at risk’ can protect themselves from the effects of flu, and in doing so, reduce winter pressure on the NHS.

Dr Alan McDevitt, chair of the BMA’s Scottish General Practitioners Committee, said while the flu is simply miserbale for most, for the vulnerable it can cause serious complications and even lead to death.

“It is important that the flu campaign reaches as many vulnerable and ‘at-risk’ people as possible, because it is inevitable that there will be cases of flu this winter,” he said.

“Across the country surgeries are putting in place the systems needed to reach and protect as many of our under 65s in the ‘at-risk’ group and our older generations as possible. Many patients will be offered the jab when they are in on routine visits.

“The jab can reduce both the likelihood of getting flu and the severity of the illness of those unfortunate enough to catch it. Flu can be very serious for older people and those with other illness, so take up your GP’s offer of a jab and be protected this winter.”