National flu service about to go live
The National Pandemic Flu Service helpline is due to go live later today, according to media reports this morning.
The web and phone service will provide swine flu sufferers in England with access to anti-viral drugs and is thought to be the first of its kind. It is hoped that the service will relieve pressure on the NHS during the current pandemic.
Users will need to complete a checklist of symptoms before a diagnosis is made. Pregnant women, those with health conditions and children aged under one will all still need to see a doctor.
It is accepted that the system could be abused but only one dose of the anti-viral drug will be allowed per person.
Initially there will be 1,500 trained phone operators, but the service will expand if demand increases.
The phone number and website details of the flu service have not yet been released.
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Written by: Maxine Clarke, July 23 2009