Britain has been gripped by the worst flu outbreak for almost a decade, Government figures are expected to confirm this week, according to a report in The Sunday Telegraph. Emergency services are now worried that they will be "swamped" by calls when GPs' surgeries close for Christmas.
With most surgeries shut for four days over the Christmas period, experts warn that the remaining medical services could be stretched to breaking point by the weekend. Casualty doctors said the chaos in their departments was already reminiscent of the last NHS winter crisis, at the turn of the millennium, when crematoria worked round the clock to cope with 22,000 deaths.
The figures show the number of flu infections are running at 40 per 100,000 – the highest level at this point in the year since the winter of 2000-01. Dozens of hospitals have already closed wards or stopped admitting emergencies, as they battle with the rising number of admissions linked to flu and the norovirus winter vomiting bug. Record numbers of 999 calls have left emergency services struggling to cope, with ambulances queuing outside hospitals unable to take patients quickly enough.Reuse content