Find out information & advice about flu & Covid vaccinations, and the importance of
annual health checks for carers and someone with a severe mental illness.
We are urging GPs to offer carers a free annual health check to those signed up to their surgery as a carer. This is to empower carers to look after your own physical health, avoid future health complications and ensure you are physically fit to continue in caring role.
Why get a free annual health check?
Carers can often neglect their own health and needs, leading to poorer physical and mental health, which can have an impact on their caring role. An annual health check can help you stay well by talking to a doctor or nurse about your health and finding any problems early, so they can be resolved.
There is a link between your physical and mental health, therefore looking after your physical health can help to improve your overall health and wellbeing.
What to expect:
If you go for your annual health check, they will check:
• Your blood pressure
• The level of glucose (sugar) in your blood
• The level of cholesterol in your blood
• Your height and weight
• How much alcohol you drink
• Whether you smoke
How do I book an annual health check?
You will need to talk to your GP surgery to see if they are offering carers the service. You will also need to be registered with your surgery as a carer. At Carers in Bedfordshire we can confirm your carer status, if required.
The NHS recommends carers and the person you care for have their free seasonal flu jab, as it’s the best way to protect yourself and the person you care for from flu.
Those who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or who are the main carer of a person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill, are entitled to a free jab. The flu vaccination is therefore important to reduce hospitalisations and deaths.
Other groups eligible for the free vaccine include those aged 50 and older, pregnant women, all frontline health and social care workers, children and those in long-stay care facilities, as well as those with certain underlying medical conditions, including a serious mental illness (see information about at the bottom of the page below).
It’s very important if you’re caring for someone eligible for the free vaccine you encourage them to have the jab. If you are not sure whether the person you care for comes under the free vaccination scheme, we encourage you to contact your GP, or mental health team.
Remember if you are coughing or sneezing to ‘Catch it-Bin it-Kill it’ to stop the spread of germs, use a tissue and wash your hands thoroughly.
For further information regarding seasonal flu visit the BLMKCCG NHS website which includes myth busting information, videos in different languages and easy read leaflets and posters.
Booster vaccine doses have been offered to unpaid carers who have already had two doses of a vaccine.
As a carer you should speak to your GP to get a flag put on your record to alert them you are a carer. This can also help you to access other support and vaccinations.
For national and local information about the Covid vaccination and general advice for unpaid carers about Covid-19, visit these websites:
If the person you care for has a Severe Mental Illness (SMI), they are eligible for a free annual health check, seasonal flu and Covid booster vaccinations.
Those with a severe mental illness (SMI) includes someone with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder or other psychoses and patients on lithium therapy, as well as any mental illness that causes severe functional impairment. This could be people who are severely unwell with an eating disorder (who have a high or low BMI), or a diagnosis of a personality disorder.
Read further information from the NHS about getting the Covid vaccine if you have an SMI and speak to your GP or mental health team about booking a free physical health check. Details are in this health check poster.
You can also visit www.rethink.org for answers to common questions about what’s involved in a health check up and why the checks are important.
If you are not sure whether the person you care for comes under the free seasonal flu vaccination scheme, we encourage you to contact your GP, or mental health team.