DoH urges GPs to make phone swine flu diagnoses

GPs should look to make a diagnosis of swine flu over the phone because the UK is moving to the treatment phase.

The move comes after the number of cases of swine flu doubled in a week. Currently, there are 7,447 confirmed cases of the virus in the UK.

If a GP decides a patient is presenting with symptoms of swine flu, they should now issue the patient with a voucher for antivirals. A family member or a ‘flu friend’ should then collect the antivirals from the collection point, such as a pharmacy.

Speaking at a briefing in central London today, health secretary Andy Burnham said that GPs should prioritise antivirals for at-risk patients, such as pregnant women, children under five and elderly patients over the age of 65.

Mr Burnham added that GPs were coping extremely well with the outbreak, and that the flu hotline was very close to launching.

‘This will help to take some of the pressure off GPs, he said.

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

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