Respected care home company Barchester Healthcare
has warned people not to forget the dangers posed by seasonal flu amid widespread media coverage of H1N1 swine flu and its vaccine.
Tim Hammond, the company's managing director, said that with the current focus on swine flu, it can be easy to forget the importance of the seasonal flu jab.
Yet some 8,000 people die after catching seasonal flu each year in England and Wales, with older people facing a particularly high risk.
He also revealed that only 16.5 per cent of NHS staff had the seasonal flu jab last year, even though failure to be vaccinated could put patients at risk.
"We acknowledge the danger that seasonal flu poses and put huge organisational focus on providing the flu vaccination for the 24,000 people living and working in our care homes," Mr Hammond revealed.
"Last winter 30 per cent of our staff took up the vaccination - almost double that of the NHS."
The Barchester group provides care for more than 10,000 people around the UK and recently opened a new facility for people with dementia in Carlisle.
The Carlyle Suite at Lanercost House will cater for just 15 people and welcomed its first residents ahead of its official opening last month.