Drive to prevent winter deaths in Norwich

A drive to save the lives of elderly people in Norwich has been launched – urging them to ensure they stay warm this winter and to get their flu jabs.

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith has launched a Warm Up For Winter campaign to encourage older and vulnerable people to ensure they get help to heat their homes, while NHS Norfolk bosses want to ensure they are vaccinated against flu.

It comes as the government-commissioned Hills Fuel Poverty Review estimated about 27,000 people will perish across the UK this winter because their homes are too cold.

Conservative MP Miss Smith said of her campaign: 'It is vital we raise awareness of the help that is available to the elderly during the winter.

'There is a range of measures ready and available from the government and local councils that will help to ensure that homes are warm, even if budgets are tight.'

Benefits available include cold weather payments, winter fuel payments, energy grants and the Warm Front Scheme – grants which can be used for insulation and draught-proofing.

And NHS Norfolk urged eligible people to get their annual flu vaccine.

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Jonathan Williams, assistant director of public health at NHS Norfolk, said: 'Seasonal flu is responsible for the deaths of about 8,000 people a year – many of them older people, but others can also be at risk.

'Everyone aged 65 and over qualifies for the free annual seasonal flu jab. In addition, adults and children aged six months to 65 years who have existing health problems such as respiratory disease, asthma, heart, kidney or liver problems, diabetes, or other immunity issues are looked at as being at risk.

'Your GP surgery will invite you for your seasonal flu vaccination, and we urge you to take up the opportunity. If you are not called up and you think you may need a vaccination. it's worth calling your GP to check.'

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