Healthy living

National Pandemic Flu Service launched

swine flu hotline launched Flu hotline and website to relieve pressure on GPs

The new National Pandemic Flu Service has been launched. Consisting of a website and a swine flu hotline, it is designed to relieve increasing pressure on GP surgeries throughout England due to the recent surge in the number of swine flu cases.

Over 100,000 new cases of swine were reported in England last week alone, an increase of 50% on the previous week, according to new figures released today by the Health Protection Agency.

The service can be accessed at: www.direct.gov.uk/pandemicflu or by calling 0800 1 513 100.

The swine flu phone hotline will be staffed by around 1,500 people based at call centres throughout the country.

Operators will ask a series of questions designed to establish whether the caller has swine flu. Callers with swine flu will be given a unique code and directed to the nearest local collection point, where anti-viral drugs can be picked up by a “flu friend.”

Flu friends will need to provide a form of ID for both themselves and the affected person such an NHS card, passport or driving licence, before being given the drugs.

The website will operate in a similar fashion. People will be able to fill in a questionnaire, and depending on the result, print out a voucher with the unique code.

Initially, the phone hotline will be operational during the day but this may be extended to a 24 hour service, if necessary.

Dr. Chris comments: "Whilst this service will benefit most people, if you are in any of the higher risk groups and at greater risk of complications, it's important you keep in contact with your GP."

This article was published on Thu 23 July 2009



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