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National Pandemic Service to stand down as swine flu declines

Patients with suspected H1N1 will be referred to their GPs as experts predict the worst is over

OnMedica staff

Tuesday, 02 February 2010

With a steady decline in the number of reports of new cases of swine flu, and with general influenza activity at or below baseline levels for the time of year, the National Pandemic Flu Service (NPFS) will be stood down as of next week, the Department of Health announced today.

Writing in the latest issue of The Month, the bulletin for NHS leaders, Ian Dalton the National Director of NHS Flu Resilience says that the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) considers the UK has now passed the maximum peak of the second wave. The NPFS will be stood down as of next Thursday, February 11th, and anyone with suspected swine flu will be referred to their GPs for advice.

"It is anticipated that there will be a declining trend in numbers of new cases of pandemic influenza, and it is considered unlikely that there will be a third wave of any significant magnitude. Because of this the response to the swine flu pandemic has been reviewed to ensure that it is clinically appropriate to the levels of threat posed to the general public and the pressure being put on the NHS," he writes.

However he cautions that the strain remains in circulation and that while for the majority of people contracting the illness its symptoms will be mild, for some it can be more severe. SAGE has reviewed the anti-viral policy and has advised that GPs can continue to offer treatment to all those with influenza-like illness who wish to receive it, subject to their clinical judgement until the end of the seasonal flu period defined as the end of March. For more details see the swine flu pages on the Department of Health website.

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