London GPs told to diagnose swine flu clinically
By Steve Nowottny
GPs across London have been told to use clinical assessment rather than laboratory testing to identify cases of swine flu, in a major shift in the strategy for combating the outbreak.
A new algorithm for GPs across the capital, which came into effect yesterday afternoon, instructs them to prescribe antivirals for all symptomatic patients who live in the capital, without waiting for the results of swabs.
Swabs should continue to be taken for suspected cases who are not household contacts of a laboratory confirmed case.
An HPA spokesperson said that a similar approach has also been adopted in some parts of Birmingham, centre of one of the largest outbreaks in Europe – although she said 'the changes in treatment are not widespread across the county'.
However, a Scottish Government spokesperson confirmed that clinical assessment has now been abandoned north of the border, with laboratory testing continuing for all cases. Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said last week that clinical diagnosis ‘has not proven to be as effective as originally thought'.HPA London algorithm 22 June 09
HPA London algorithm 22 June 09The new HPA London algorithm
See the new HPA London algorithm here