Immunise for safety’s sake

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People in their 70s are being urged to make sure they receive the free shingles immunisation to prevent the chance of getting the often painful and occasionally fatal condition.

Thurrock Council’s public health team is reminding people in their early or late 70s that they are eligible. Ian Wake, Thurrock’s Director of Public Health said: “I know thinking about having a vaccination is not nice, but it is undoubtedly better than getting shingles.

“Even the small number of people who are unlucky enough to get it despite being immunised tend to get less severe symptoms.”

Anybody who is aged between 70 and 72 or 78 and 79 on Tuesday 01 September is eligible for immunisation until August 31 next year (2016).

Mr Wake added: “Shingles can be painful and uncomfortable and some are left with pain for years - it can even be fatal for 1 in 1,000 cases in people over 70.”

Contact your GP for more information.

Saving lives through organ donation

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National Transplant Week is taking place 7-13 September 2015, to raise awareness of organ donation and to encourage more people to join the organ donor register.

  • Each day in the UK, on average, three people die waiting for an organ transplant.
  • In south west Essex, 30 people are currently on a transplant list
  • Between April 2014 and March 2015, 13 people living in south west Essex received a donated organ, and a further 17 benefitted from donated corneas.
  • There are currently 79,554 people living in the Basildon Hospital catchment area on the UK organ donor register.

(data from NHS Blood and Transplant, August 2015)

New children’s unit has the X-Factor

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x factor pic

X-Factor star Lauren Platt officially opened the first purpose-built paediatric assessment unit of its kind in Essex.

Lauren, 17, cut the ribbon at Basildon University Hospital with her brother Lewis, 15, and spent time speaking with the young patients and parents, who have helped plan and develop the unit.

The Paediatric Assessment Unit (PAU) will be for children and young patients who need hospital treatment but do not require a stay beyond 24 hours. The young patients who will be treated in the unit either need to attend regularly due to long term health conditions or require treatment or observation – for example, following a fall – but do not need to be admitted to a ward.

The unit means that ward beds are freed up for those who need them most and that patients who do not need to be in hospital are able to go home much quicker.

Video shows how defibrillators save lives

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A new video called ‘pull through’ aims to encourage work places to have defibrillators in order to help save lives.

The video follows the story of Ian Hough who suffered a cardiac arrest during a regatta at Stourport Boat Club In August 2011. A defibrillator at the club helped to save his life.

To watch the film produced by drpvideo, click on the link below:

‘Pull Through’ – NHS Defibrillator Awareness Film 

New meningococcal vaccination programme expected to save lives

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Public Health England (PHE) is welcoming the start of the new MenACWY vaccination programme that will offer teenagers protection against meningitis (inflammation of the brain) and septicaemia (blood poisoning) caused by four meningococcal strains including MenW.

From today, GPs will be inviting teenagers aged 17 and 18 (born between 01 September 1996 and 31 August 1997) for the vaccine. All adolescents born between 01 September 1996 and 31 August 1997 in England are eligible for vaccination regardless of their future plans.

Where possible, it’s important that anyone who plans to go to university this year gets vaccinated before they leave. This group are at increased risk of getting meningococcal disease, as many of them will be mixing closely with lots of new people at university, some of whom may unknowingly carry the meningococcal bacteria.