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Swine flu: how is your practice being affected?

Tell us how the swine flu outbreak is affecting your practice. Have you had patients who suspect they have it? What questions are you being asked? Are you getting the answers you need? If not, we'll try to find them out.

Tell us how the swine flu outbreak is affecting your practice. Have you had patients who suspect they have it? What questions are you being asked? Are you getting the answers you need? If not, we'll try to find them out.



In the press offices of health organisations across the country, it's all hands on deck. For obvious reasons, it's important that the right information is given to the public in a responsible and timely fashion, and here at Pulse we will of course be updating you on how this breaking health story is going to affect you.

NHS Direct is, as far as we know, fielding the bulk of calls from worried members of the general public. This inevitably will be a mixed bag of cases: patients who might have recently returned from affected areas and have genuine cause for concern, hypochondriacs and the worried well whose general feeling of being a bit under the weather might have been whipped up into a potentially life-threatening disease, and others that fall somewhere in between.

But what we don't know yet is how many calls you're getting.

The latest update from NHS Direct shows that of the 1,378 swine-flu related calls to their helpline yesterday, 18% - nearly one in every five – was referred on to a GP.

So, like the Health Protection Agency and the Boys Scouts always say: be prepared. Whatever happens in the trajectory of this outbreak, swine flu will dominate the news agenda in the days to come and GPs will be thrust into the frontline to filter out genuine cases of swine flu and act on the guidance to manage any patients identified appropriately.

It may be that you've already had patients in to see you with questions, and it's likely you will see or speak to more in the coming days.

We're keen to hear how you are getting on. Share your experiences of what it's really like to deal with an emerging health crisis, what questions patients are asking, your experience in trying to get answers from local and national authorities and your own fears in how this is all going to play out.

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