Swine flu pandemic line to close

PATIENTS with suspected swine flu will no longer be able to contact the National Pandemic Flu Service (NPFS).Due to the drop in numbers of people reporting flu-like symptoms, from 1am tomorrow the telephone line and website will close.

PATIENTS with suspected swine flu will no longer be able to contact the National Pandemic Flu Service (NPFS).

Due to the drop in numbers of people reporting flu-like symptoms, from 1am tomorrow the telephone line and website will close.

This means patients who have flu-like symptoms and believe they have swine flu should stay at home and contact their doctor for a GP diagnosis.

Patients are reminded not to go to their GP's surgery but to contact them via telephone.


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Dr Shamsher Diu, public health consultant for NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney, said: 'People who believe they have swine flu and who are given a GP diagnosis will need to get a flu friend to collect their prescription from the doctor and then anti-viral medication from one of two pharmacies in the Great Yarmouth and Waveney area. The flu friend will be told which pharmacies will stock the medication.'

People can still call the Swine Flu Information Line on 0800 1 513 513 or ring NHS Direct on 0845 4647.

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Members of the community who are within priority groups for the vaccination are also being urged to take up the offer of the jab now.

Dr Diu added: 'Although mortality rates from H1N1 influenza overall has been lower than in previous pandemics, deaths from H1N1 influenza among younger adults have been more than 30 times higher than deaths among the same age group in the 2008 flu season.

'If you are in a priority group and have not had the vaccine then please reconsider and contact your GP for an appointment.'

The priority groups for the vaccine are people aged over six months and under 65 years in current seasonal flu vaccine clinical at-risk groups; pregnant women; household contacts of people with compromised immune systems e.g. people in regular close contact with patients on treatment for cancer; people aged 65 and over in the current seasonal flu vaccine clinical at-risk groups, not including otherwise healthy over 65s; and children aged six months to five years.

Members of the travelling communities, those from non-English speaking communities, sex workers or people who may not have a permanent address are being urged to have the swine flu vaccine if they need it by registering with a doctor.

Dr Shamsher Diu, public health consultant for NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney, said: 'If you are within the priority group but have not been invited for the vaccine then please contact us to register with a doctor. It is really important for your health.

'Any member of a community group who may be engaged with 'seldom heard groups' or who may know someone within the priority groups should check with that individual to make sure they have had the option of having the vaccine.

'Anyone wishing to find out where their nearest doctor is can call 01502 719501 or call NHS Direct on 0845 4647.'

To avoid catching Swine Flu or seasonal flu use a tissue to catch sneezes, dispose of used tissues where germs can linger and regularly wash your hands.

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