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  • Swine flu victims are fighting for their lives

    Posted on January 8th, 2011 admin No comments

    FIFTEEN people in Worcestershire hospitals are fighting for their lives after contracting swine flu.

    As of yesterday, there were a total of 58 patients with flu-like symptoms, 26 at Worcestershire Royal Hospital and 22 at the Alexandra in Redditch.

    Meanwhile, a leading doctor has claimed that more than a third of GP practices have run out of vaccine.

    Dr Simon Parkinson, secretary of the Worcestershire Local Medical Committee, said GP practices in the county had been extremely busy as medical staff treated people with suspected swine flu – and stocks of the combined seasonal vaccine were running low. He said: “More than a third of Worcestershire practices have already run out of vaccine and the rest of us will use up our supply in the next few days.

    “Many of us have got some swine flu vaccine from last year left and we can use that for people who have not been immunised and are at risk.”

    As of yesterday there were 15 patients in critical care units with either suspected or confirmed flu (all strains) at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital and the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch. In total 320 patients with flu-like symptoms have been treated at both hospitals since December 1 last year.

    Despite GP concerns, a spokesman for NHS Worcestershire, which holds the purse strings for county healthcare, said there would be enough vaccine to go around. She said: “NHS Worcestershire is aware of the national problem regarding a shortage in flu vaccine supplies and this has affected supplies in some Worcestershire GP practices.

    “The trust is helping movement of vaccines from practices with higher stocks to those with lower stocks, in addition we have asked practices to order more vaccines.”

    Sue Lloyd, assistant practice manager at St John’s House Surgery in St John’s, Worcester, said the practice had enough supplies at the moment but said that if everyone they had written to asked for a vaccine they may run out.

    She said: “Since there have been swine flu deaths people have been panicking and we have had lots of people not on the risk register asking for the vaccine and we have had to direct them to pharmacies where they can pay for it privately.”

    According to NHS Worcestershire, there are 3,000 flu vaccines available in GP practices across the county and some practices have been asked to order further stocks or administer left-over swine flu vaccine instead.

    The number of people in intensive care with suspected or confirmed flu in critical care units in the West Midlands has fallen over the last week from 88 last week to 78 this week.

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