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Campaign: Not enough older people getting flu jab

A new winter health campaign is warning that a third of older people are at risk of falling seriously ill, because they will not get their flu jab.

The Winter Wellness campaign is being run by all Welsh health boards, and co-ordinated by Public Health Wales, Community Pharmacy Wales and Age Cymru.

The campaign highlights how many older people are not getting flu vaccinations. Credit: PA

It aims to raise awareness of the impact that winter can have on the health of older people and those at extra risk due to health conditions.

The campaign wants to encourage people to visit their local pharmacy - and getting the flu jab is the top issue it is targeting.

Figures from last year show 32 per cent of people over the age of 65 in Wales did not get a flu vaccination.

50 per cent of people in other at-risk groups did not get vaccinated.

Wales' older people feel 'stereotyped and overlooked'

Older people in Wales feel "stereotyped and overlooked" by society, according to new research.

The Shaping for Age project found that, among over-65s:

  • 75 per cent say that they are rarely or never consulted on services that impact their life
  • 58 per cent think society sees them as a burden
  • 54 per cent think older people are ignored
  • 53 per cent feel the contribution that older people make to society is not recognised

What are your experiences about this, whether you are on older person or not?

You can get in touch via:


  1. Carl Edwards

Concerns over plans for discharging patients quicker

Less than 24 hours after announcing plans to deal with the unprecedented pressures A&E departments around Wales have been facing, the Health Minister is already facing criticism.

Charities have warned that plans to bring an end to so-called 'bed blocking' could result in patients being pressured to leave hospital before they are ready, or there is not adequate support for them at home.

'£1 spent on older person's home saves £7.50'

The charity Care & Repair Cymru says "one of the most cost effective ways" to make sure patients are discharged from hospital on time is improving older people's housing.

It estimates that for every £1 spent adapting an older person’s home, £7.50 is saved to NHS and social service budgets.

Most older people prefer to be at home and such investment, targeted at higher risk frail older people would prevent or reduce the number of hospital admissions in the first place, but if older people are waiting to return home, then investment to increase and speed up adaptations and other home improvements that enable them to live safely at home make huge sense.

We have many examples of older patients who have been in hospital, wanting to return home, but their properties are unsuitable.

– Chris Jones, Chief Executive of Care & Repair Cymru

Charity: Elderly must not be left to fend for themselves

Age Cymru says it welcomes the Health Minister's "intention to make sure that people are cared for in the most appropriate place."

The charity says: "it is unacceptable that many older people are currently forced to stay in hospitals for longer than they need to because of delays in assessing their needs or arranging suitable places for them to be discharged to", but says that it has significant concerns.

We must develop a system where the help and support that somebody needs on discharge can be put in place quickly, whether that is back at home or in a residential or nursing home.

However, it would not be right for older people or their families to be put under undue pressure to leave hospital before they are able to do so.

The right support and information must be provided so that people aren’t left to fend for themselves at an extremely difficult and emotional time.

– Graeme Francis, Head of Policy and Public Affairs for Age Cymru

Older patients 'must not be pressured to leave hospital'

Age Cymru has warned that older people should not be forced out of hospital beds, in an attempt to reduce A&E pressures. Credit: PA

The charity Age Cymru has warned that older people should not be "put under undue pressure to leave hospital before they are able to do so."

It follows the Health Minister Mark Drakeford's announcement of "immediate actions" to cut waiting times in A&E departments, including freeing-up beds "by ensuring when patients no longer require hospital treatment, they are discharged in a timely manner."


'Immediate actions' to tackle extreme A&E pressures

Wales' Health Minister has set out "immediate actions" to reduce the extreme pressures on emergency health services.

Mark Drakeford is focusing on tackling "lengthy patient handover delays at A&E departments" and freeing-up beds by getting patients to leave hospital quickly when they are ready.

He says all local health boards have submitted plans on how they will improve.

Last month, doctors wrote to the Health Minister warning that emergency departments "are at the point of meltdown".

Earlier in March, patients had to wait in ambulances outside hospitals due to packed A&E departments.

Over the past six months, the demand for emergency care services has risen steeply, due mainly to the number of acutely ill elderly patients being admitted to A&E departments.

More work needs to be undertaken to free up beds by ensuring when patients no longer require hospital treatment, they are discharged in a timely manner.

I am also keen to address the consistent finding that too many people are attending our A&E departments unnecessarily.

The way we introduce a non-emergency helpline in Wales will be vital and I have asked for plans for an NHS 111 number to be accelerated where possible.

– Mark Drakeford, Welsh Government Health Minister

Your experiences of nursing home care standards

Here are some of the comments and experiences on nursing home care that you sent in via email, Facebook and Twitter:

I was employed as a senior in a private care home and have seen first-hand the poor conditions and care of the elderly with dementia.

Thank you for doing the news item on care for the elderly but unfortunately I don't think it will make a bit of difference. The system simply does not work.

Time and time again, we hear of failings in care, not just in elderly services but across the board, but implementation of changes is taking far too long.

My wife visits elderly people in their homes to assist them... The carers do at little as possible in the shortest time they can. They don't appear to care at all its just a job. It may be the company they work for is expecting them to do too much in too short a time. I also have a friend that is a carer and she is disgusted by some of her colleagues attitudes to their clients.

Questions over standards of care in nursing homes

The Public Services Ombudsman has severely criticised the people who are in charge of inspecting care homes across Wales and ensuring standards for some of our most vulnerable elderly people.

It follows a lengthy investigation into the case of an elderly woman who died three years ago. The watchdog says that the Care and Social Services Inspectorate's investigation was so narrow that 'serious failings had not been identified.'

Tonight Age Cymru is calling on the Welsh Government to 'urgently investigate and address failings in basic care.' Owain Phillips has tonight's top story.

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