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Hospitals feeling swine flu strain

2nd November 2009

Sir Liam Donaldson, England's chief medical officer, has told the BBC that hospitals are under "a lot of pressure" because of the swine flu pandemic.

swine flu

Sir Liam appeared on Andrew Marr's television programme and said the vaccinations should help to stop swine flu from spreading.

There have been 137 deaths from the virus in the UK - 97 in England, 25 in Scotland, eight in Northern Ireland and seven in Wales.

Over half a million people have become ill with swine flu in the UK.

Sir Liam said the virus was increasing more slowly than they had originally predicted, although a small number of people developed "very serious illness".

"It's taking them into hospital and a small proportion are dying," he added.

He said that the use of symptom checkers and medication availability over the phone and internet had lessened the pressure on GPs.

However he explained: "On the hospital side the intensive care beds are under a lot of pressure."

"We have plans to expand them but that is a concern at the moment - the serious end of the spectrum, the hospitalised patients."

Sir Liam said the more serious cases of the virus would probably become more widespread in the coming months.

A vaccination programme began in October for the nine million people in the UK who are considered high risk, including pregnant women and hospital workers.

 

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