NHS Western Isles was delighted to secure sponsorship again from Loganair as part of its 'Don't infect. Protect.' staff influenza vaccination campaign.

With any strain of influenza being dangerous for people who are more vulnerable, specifically those aged 65 and over, pregnant women and those with a serious health condition such as diabetes or heart disease, NHS Western Isles was keen for all its healthcare staff (particularly frontline staff) to take up the offer of the free influenza vaccination this winter. When NHS staff take the free vaccination, they not only help protect themselves and their families and friends, but they help protect patients and service users too.

Influenza is more than a bad cold and can make people very unwell. It's highly infectious with symptoms that come on quickly and can hit anyone. In the most serious cases, influenza can bring on pneumonia, or other serious infections which can, in extreme cases, result in death.

In order to help further encourage NHS Western Isles staff to receive their influenza vaccination, Loganair provided two return air flights and the lucky member of staff who won the flights, which can be taken from any airport in the Outer Hebrides to a Scottish mainland airport, was Laura MacLeod, NHS Western Isles Healthy Weight Practitioner.

Laura said: "I'm so pleased to have won these flights and will be using them to take a friend who has had a very difficult time away for a well deserved break. I chose to have my free flu vaccination as I have seen how dangerous the flu virus can be. A close friend once became critically ill with flu, she was flown to Glasgow and was in intensive care for several days. Thankfully, she recovered, but in my own role I meet patients and members of the public regularly, many are vulnerable with various health conditions, so anything I can do to reduce spreading the risk of flu, I'm happy to do."

NHS Western Isles Director of Public Health, Dr Maggie Watts, said: "As part of NHS Western Isles’ policy for the prevention of transmission of infections including influenza, we want to ensure those in our care are safe and protected, especially those who are most vulnerable to influenza. Healthcare workers are more likely to be exposed to the influenza virus. The influenza vaccine is the safest and most effective way to protect our staff and those around them.”

Hannah Campbell, Loganair’s Marketing Assistant, said: “Loganair is once again supporting a very important campaign, ‘Don’t infect. Protect.’ and we are pleased to assist NHS Western Isles in giving people better access to healthcare services. Congratulations to Laura. We are looking forward to welcoming her and her friend onboard their Loganair flights.”

For further information about influenza and the influenza vaccination, please visit www.nhsinform.scot

Pictured are Dr Maggie Watts, NHS Western Isles Director of Public Health; prizewinner Laura MacLeod, NHS Western Isles Healthy Weight Practitioner; and Hannah Campbell, Loganair Marketing Assistant.