Olympics disease surge will not raise GP workload, HPA says

GPs should expect usual levels of workload during the London Olympics although the influx of visitors is likely to increase the spread of tropical diseases, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) has said. By Sarah Whitehead

HPA: warning of a rise in the spread of tropical diseases during the Olympics Games
HPA: warning of a rise in the spread of tropical diseases during the Olympics Games

The HPA has revealed its plans for containing the spread of diseases during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

The organisation expects the influx of international visitors during the Olympics to increase the spread of tropical diseases for which symptoms may not be recognised.

But HPA's Olympics director Dr Brian McCloskey said GPs should operate as normal during the games.

‘GPs in London are already used to three to five million people running about London,’ he said.

‘There will be a significant increase in the number of people in London and there will of course be more cases of illness to deal with,' he added.

'A lot of them will be using emergency departments, others will use NHS Direct and there will be some who do turn up to GP practices and the GPs will respond in the way they always do.’

Practices have previously been told to expect a rise similar to a ‘mild winter’ with activity for non-elective and urgent care increasing by 5% to 10%.

Part of the HPA’s preparations to reduce the risk of infectious disease is a GP out-of-hours syndromic surveillance system, which provides the HPA with regular reports on the symptoms of patients at out-of-hours services and walk-in centres.

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