Changes to Swine Flu Service

People who think they may have swine flu are being encouraged to contact their GP for treatment as the National Pandemic Flu Service stands down.

People who think they may have swine flu are being encouraged to contact their GP for treatment as the National Pandemic Flu Service stands down.

The National Pandemic Flu Service (NPFS) will end on Thursday February 11 2010, as levels of influenza remain low in the community.

From this date the online and phone self-care service will stop and people with suspected swine flu should stay at home and contact their GP who will be able to authorise antivirals if required.

The NPFS was launched in England on July 23 2009 at the height of the first wave of the pandemic. It successfully reduced the pressure on GP practices by providing a service for patients with suspected swine flu to be assessed online or by telephone and issued with antivirals if appropriate.

In the South West more than 100,000 courses of antivirals have been collected through the service since it started.

As pressures on the NHS from swine flu and flu-like illnesses have now eased to levels below when the service started, the decision has been taken to stand down the NPFS at 0100 on February 11. The service can be restored in seven days should it be needed.

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People who are most at risk from swine flu are still being encouraged to have the vaccine as it will help prevent complications, hospital admissions and deaths in potential future outbreaks of the disease. This is especially important as swine flu is expected to be the predominant flu virus during the 2010 flu season

Andrew Millward, South West Director of Flu for the South West Strategic Health Authority, said:

"The National Pandemic Flu Service has been successful in helping thousands of people in the South West to get the antiviral treatment they need to recover from swine flu. After February 11th anyone who thinks they might have swine flu should stay at home and contact their GP who can assess them and authorise antivirals if needed.

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