Swine flu increased GP workload by up to 400%

Workload increased by up to 400% in some areas because of swine flu, according to GPC West Midlands.

‘We recently reviewed the role that general practice has taken in the swine flu pandemic and were pleased to find that general practice rose to the challenge,' said Dr Grant Ingrams, GPC West Midlands secretary.

‘Every practice and out-of-hours service has seen an increase in workload, with some areas reporting increases of 300-400% at times.'

Meanwhile, a GP newspaper survey findings that the launch of the DoH's flu hotline has reduced GP workload has been backed by another survey.

A total of 39% of people with flu-like symptoms rang their GP before the introduction of the hotline at the end of last month compared with 8% afterwards, according to internet-based flu surveillance system flusurvey.org.uk.

Over two-thirds of those who had swine flu symptoms changed their daily routine. Most who changed their behaviour reported taking between two and six days off school or work.

Dr Ken Eames, a research fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, which is carrying out the work, said: ‘Most people with symptoms are pretty sensible - they stay at home and take paracetamol.

‘But even though there doesn't seem to be any sense of panic, the potential disruption that these absences might cause if there is another surge of cases in the autumn need to be planned for.'

neil.durham@haymarket.com


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