DoH swine flu website overwhelmed as new cases double

The DoH's online diagnosis service was overwhelmed within minutes of its launch on Thursday because of the amount of people trying to log on at the same time.


Speaking at a briefing in central London on Thursday, Sir Liam Donaldson, the CMO for England, said that the number of cases had now reached 100,000 in the past week compared with 55,000 previously. Click on the video above to watch Healthcare Republic's Sanjay Tanday reporting from the DoH headquarters.

The number of hospitalisations for the virus has risen from 652 to 840.

However, the number of deaths from swine flu remains at 26 in England, the same as last week. There have been four deaths reported in Scotland.

Sir Liam has said that the flu line and website should help to take the pressure off GPs, particularly those in the hotspots.

The website registered 2,600 hits per second initially, the equivalent of 9.3 million an hour. A message on the site shortly after launch read: 'Welcome to the National Pandemic Flu Service. The Service is currently very busy and cannot deal with your request at this time.' It launched at 3pm on Thursday but is up and running on Friday.

A DoH spokeswoman said that BT, which hosts the web service, increased its capacity four-fold within its first two-and-a-half hours of operation.

She added: 'The technology for the call centres and the antiviral collection points has not been affected by this issue and are working normally.'

Health secretary Andy Burnham added: ‘It will free up GPs so they can focus their efforts on helping those in at-risk groups and patients with other illnesses.

‘Doctors from the RCGP will have a special liaison role with each of these call centres and will feed back problems or concerns that arise during the operation of the service.'

Pregnant women, patients with underlying health conditions and all children under-one should still look to consult their GP

The phone line can be accessed on 0800 1513 100 and the website at



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