NHS ready for swine flu surge
The NHS is preparing to deal with an expected surge in swine flu cases this winter by doubling its intensive care capacity.
All 10 regions of the NHS in England have confirmed they will be able to increase the number of severely ill adults and children requiring ventilation that they can treat, from 2,000 to more than 4,000.
The latest figures show a continuing decline in swine flu in England with an estimated 3,000 cases last week, the lowest level since the disease peaked in July.
But early signs of any upturn in the US and Scotland are being watched closely, said Sir Liam Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer. "I think we are tantalisingly close to being able to win the battle against this pandemic," he said.
Swine flu has proved mild in most cases around the world, but severe or life-threatening in a small minority of people. Experience from the southern hemisphere shows the biggest pressure on health systems has been on intensive care.
Ian Dalton, national director of pandemic flu resilience, said the plans included purchasing additional ventilators, training staff in critical care and temporarily postponing routine surgery. "If we get a surge [in swine flu cases] we will be in difficult clinical waters, like every other country," he said.
The Tories published figures last week showing that 3,000 people had to be discharged early from intensive care or transferred to other hospitals to find a bed last year.
Life & Style blogs
Who is Teresa Fidalgo? Debunking the fake ghost story that's got Instagram spooked
Regin: Newly uncovered malicious software snooping since 2008 'was developed by a nation state'
Henri de Toulouse Lautrec: Google Doodle celebrates 150th anniversary of French artist
Tinder dating app being used more and more by middle-aged mums and dads
'Normal Barbie': Lammily, the 'realistic' doll with stretch marks, acne, and grass stains on her legs
- 1 Universities aren't working us hard enough, say undergraduates
- 2 Lego letter from the 1970s still offers a powerful message to parents 40 years later
- 3 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting and rewarding role ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be joining a long-established, renown...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The key requirements of the rol...
£30000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This south Warwickshire based s...