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We are not equipped to deal with swine flu pandemic

Coventry PCT and the Health Protection Agency have been advising GPs to visit patients at home, swab them and deliver the samples to our local hospital ourselves by 6pm each day ('London GP: my ordeal dealing with suspected swine flu case').

How are we going to have the resources and time to do this?

We need the practical tools to do our job, which should include a city-wide visiting and swab service, and delivery and collection of samples. This would allow us to deal with

in-house infection-control procedures as patients who could potentially spread the disease turn up at the practice, or others who are worried phone in.

Furthermore, we cannot source any masks, so will be seeing suspected patients without any protection.

From Dr David Barrett, Coventry

We can access face masks, swabs and Tamiflu by making a request to the local Health Protection Team to send us some. But that is not really adequate, since from the time of asking it will take a minimum of two hours for the items to arrive at the surgery even if dispatched immediately by special courier, and it is likely to be the next day or later before routine carriages arrive.

From Dr David Church, Machynlleth, Mid Wales

I have had a very similar experience to the account described on your website of dealing with a suspected case of swine flu. It has taken about two to two-and-a-half hours to co-ordinate the swabs and try to sort out the Tamiflu for the patient, which might be delivered tomorrow if all goes well. The HPA has been vague and I am not sure if it is going to follow things up or not.

From Dr Hamish Munro, Newham, east London

Tamiflu

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