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Tom Nolan

Tom Nolan: The flu will be back after the break

27 Aug, 09 | by julietwalker

Two swine flu call centres in England will close on Sunday with the loss of 1200 jobs reports The Guardian. Demand for Tamiflu has plummeted: it peaked on 27 July with nearly 39,000 authorisations for the use of Tamiflu while on 16 August there were only 3396. According to the HPA there were only 11,000 new cases of swine flu last week and the GP consultation rates have dropped from a peak of 35 consultations per 100,000 of the population to under 5 (similar to the rate in January this year for seasonal flu). 59 people in the UK are reported to have died from the virus so far. more…

Helen Macdonald on swabs, tips, and a flu game

24 Aug, 09 | by julietwalker

Helen Macdonald

Is there anything new about swine flu?

The Department of Health update revealed an interesting finding this week. The Guardian reports;

“One of the odder aspects of the latest data is that only 10% of those who sought help from a GP or the National Pandemic Flu helpline and subsequently took a swab test actually showed signs of infection.” more…

Tom Nolan on historic flu remedies

20 Aug, 09 | by BMJ Group

Last week we learnt who will be offered the vaccine against swine flu first. Priority groups include people in high risk groups age between 6 months and 65 years, pregnant women, household contacts of immune-compromised people, and clinical staff. more…

Helen Macdonald on figures, jabs, scaling back, and sewage

14 Aug, 09 | by julietwalker

Helen Macdonald The number of swine flu cases fell across the UK again, according to the weekly figures from the Health Protection Agency, although they caution their interpretation. Sir Liam Donaldson, England’s chief medical officer, announced plans to scale back the pandemic flu service now cases are falling. At the moment there are around 1600 call centres. He plans to reduce this to between 200 and 600 from 23rd August, according to the BBC. more…

Tom Nolan: Is Tamiflu useful in children or not?

11 Aug, 09 | by BMJ Group

Why did the operator at the National Pandemic Flu Service give the child Tamiflu? The cynics will say because the algorithm told him to, but the real answer, according to the UK government, is that it’s the safest thing to do to prevent severe infections. New research in the BMJ questions that policy and looks likely to cause confusion among the public and doctors alike. more…

Helen Macdonald on the calm, waves of flu, vaccines, and other stories

7 Aug, 09 | by julietwalker

Helen Macdonald Calm settled over swine flu coverage this week as the northern hemisphere headed into the summer holidays; but much remains uncertain.

Stories tracking the Health Protection Agency’s weekly flu figures fell from the front pages. But based on the agency’s numbers, the press report that cases, consultations, admissions and deaths from swine flu are far lower in the UK this week than last – as predicted for the summer. more…

Tom Nolan: How much flu is out there?

4 Aug, 09 | by BMJ


Measuring the tip of the iceberg
The Health Protection Agency  estimates that there were 110,000 new cases of swine flu in England last week,10,000 more than the week before. But how did they work this out and how accurate is it? more…

Helen Macdonald on side effects, Tamiflu, and the swine flu hotline

31 Jul, 09 | by BMJ Group

Helen Macdonald A hundred and five thousand people with flu symptoms were prescribed Tamiflu via the new hotline last week. But there are some unintended consequences. Although consultation rates for flu like symptoms are levelling, Pulse magazine reports on a new problem. Now patients are making appointments to see their GP complaining of the side effects of Tamiflu. more…

Tom Nolan: Collection point nonsense

29 Jul, 09 | by BMJ


Talk of swine flu seems to have died down considerably since the launch of the national flu pandemic service in England last week. Despite the lack of news generally, it’s no longer on the front page of every newspaper – perhaps due to the telling off that the media got at the weekend (see Monday’s blog). more…

Tom Nolan: Critical care and the pandemic panic

27 Jul, 09 | by julietwalker

A pandemic of panic

A “panic pandemic” is worsening the crisis in the UK said health ministers over the weekend. Andy Burnham, the health secretary, told The Observer of the need for people to keep a sense of perspective.

“If people are made unnecessarily anxious, it makes the lives of NHS professionals, who are already under enormous pressure, far more difficult as people become unduly worried.”

His plea was backed up by the president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Professor Terence Stephenson: more…

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