Front-line staff at Airedale Hospital are being urged to protect themselves and their patients by having their free flu jab as soon as possible.

Employee health and wellbeing staff have launched their annual campaign and will be visiting wards and departments to vaccinate staff and spread the word about how important the flu jab is.

Rob Dearden, director of nursing, at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We would like our staff who come into contact with patients to have the flu vaccine as soon as possible before the virus is circulating – especially as it takes two weeks for the vaccine to take effect.”

Andrew Catto, medical director, said: “Staff vaccinations can almost eliminate the risk of flu spreading from staff to colleagues, their families and their patients, for whom flu can be fatal in some cases.”

Last year 56 per cent of front-line staff took up the offer of the free flu vaccination, which was above the national average.

The Trust expects the percentage to be much higher this year.