The National Pandemic Flu Service has now been established. Effectively this is the Swine Flu Hotline which was planned for the autumn, but rushed through when the number of cases of the pandemic strain of H1N1 increased by a large number.
The new service is designed to relieve pressure on the GPs and other parts of the National Health Service (NHS) by allowing diagnosis and suitable treatment to be done over the phone and Internet.
Guidance for the public is still published on the NHS Direct website:
NHS Pandemic Flu Alert Information, but the guidance is to contact the National Pandemic Flu Service except in the following circumstances.
- you have a serious underlying illness
- you are pregnant
- you have a sick child under one year old
- your condition suddenly gets much worse
- your condition is still getting worse after seven days (or five days for a child)
In the above circumstances you should phone your GP directly
In other circumstances you should use either the National Pandemic Flu website or phone the National Pandemic Flu diagnosis phone-line on:
0800 1 513 100
(or Minicom 0800 1 513 200)
The official guidance is to prepare in the following ways:
- Learning to recognise the symptoms of swine flu
- Establishing "flu friends" – friends and relatives who can help if you fall ill
- Keeping paracetamol-based cold remedies in the house
- Having a thermometer available so you can check your temperature if needed
Note: If you have elderly or vulnerable neighbours please check on them. They may need your help but be reluctant to ask for it. It is important you do what you can.
And to ensure good hand-washing hygiene as per the leaflets originally distributed around homes. See: Earlier blog post – Government Information on Swine Flu A(H1N1).
Or phone the Swine Flu Information Line on 0800 1 513 513.