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GPs see 710,000 for flu-like illness during swine flu pandemic

By Gareth Iacobucci

Almost three quarters of a million GP consultations have been taken up by influenza-like illness since the onset of swine flu, and 1.2 million antiviral courses have been issued, the Government has revealed.

Writing in the Department of Health's newsletter the Quarter, David Flory, director general for NHS Finance, performance and operations, said there had been 710,000 appointments dedicated to influenza-like illness during the pandemic.

But he said this figure would have been far higher but for the Government's national flu-line, which had successfully eased the pressure on GPs.

He said: ‘[The] National Pandemic Flu Service (NPFS) successfully eased pressure on primary care services during the busiest times of the pandemic. It allowed GPs to focus on those most ill and ensured access to antivirals when needed.'

‘Overall, the PCT and SHA response to the swine flu pandemic was excellent, with the service able to continue providing safe and effective care to patients, despite the additional demand, which included 710,000 GP consultations for influenza like illness, 1.2 million antivirals issued, 25,800 admissions to hospital, and 2,000 antiviral collection points open at the peak of the pandemic.'

The Government recently announced it was closing down the national flu line following the reduction in number of cases of swine flu, but Mr Flory said this didn't mean the vaccination programme had ceased.

‘Vaccination of those most at risk from swine flu is still a priority, and the vaccination programme continues,' he said.

710,000 GP consultations were taken up by influenza-like illness during the swine flu pandemic 710,000 GP consultations were taken up by influenza-like illness during the swine flu pandemic

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