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Swine Flu fortnightly report

This report from NHS West Midlands shows that there is a mixed picture across the region in terms of GP consultation rates but increasing numbers of hospital admissions and patients in critical care.

Key Messages
Across the West Midlands there has been a mixed picture in patients presenting at primary care centres with influenza-like symptoms, some PCT areas show an increase, other areas show a decrease, in rates. Overall, the West Midlands rate has increased but this is not impacting on normal service delivery. The Department of Health has announced that the vaccination programme will be extended to children over six months and under five years.

Activity /Rates – GPs
This shows the number of patients attending primary care with influenza-like illness, taken from the latest Health Protection Agency QSurveillance data. This data indicates an increase for the week ending 15 November 2009, across England and the West Midlands, but a decrease within the Birmingham East and North area.

The reported rate of GP consultations per 100,000 population within the West Midlands for the week was 61.0 (compared with 54.8 for the previous week).

West Midlands average 61.0 (per 100,000)
England and Wales rate 48.1 (per 100,000)
NHS Birmingham East and North 43.4 (per 100,000)

Number of Hospital Admissions
The total number of new admissions with swine flu admitted to hospitals in the West Midlands for the period 12 to 18 November 2009 is 216. As of 18 November, there were 111 people in hospital, 19 % of which are in critical care.

Number of Swine Flu Related Deaths
There have been eight swine flu-related deaths reported in the last two weeks since our previous report. This means that the number of total deaths where there has been a positive test of swine flu in the West Midlands is twenty-seven. Note: The Chief Medical Officer yesterday announced a regional breakdown of the 142 deaths that have been fully investigated by the CMO against the criteria for inclusion as a swine flu related death in England. This referred to 23 deaths within the West Midlands, which differs from our figure as some of the more recent cases will be awaiting a full investigation by the CMO.

Vaccination Programme
Vaccination of people in clinical at-risk groups is well under way. It was announced yesterday that once GPs complete the vaccination of these groups, the programme will be extended to offer children over six months and under five years protection against the virus. Children under five years of age are more likely than other groups to be hospitalised if they become ill with swine flu. The Department of Health is currently working with the BMA and NHS organisations to agree details of how the vaccine will be delivered.

Parents of children who are over six months and under five years should wait to be contacted by their local surgery.

NHS West Midlands has commissioned two films – one presenting the case for why frontline staff should get vaccinated against swine flu and one for members of the public. The films are intended to be used as an additional tool in the deployment of local vaccination programmes, to gently remind people and encourage uptake of the vaccine. The films are available on YouTube at:
Update on Anti-Viral Collection Points (ACPs)
Total number of Antiviral Collection Points planned for the Local Health Economy: 14
Currently open: 1 (Stechford)

The PCT currently has 1 ACP open which is in line with the current level of need. Plans are in place to open more collection points to meet any increase in demand.

Total number of assessments via the National Flu Pandemic Service (West Midlands): 199,186
Total number of antivirals collected (West Midlands): 98,318

Public Health Message
A National Pandemic Flu Service has been launched to ensure that people with flu or flu-like symptoms are able to get advice and help. The service is made up of a dedicated website and call centres which provide people with a quick way to check their symptoms and get access to antiviral drugs. For most people, swine flu is not a serious illness and they should start to feel better after a few days without needing to go to their GP or A&E.


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