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Friday 28th October 2016

Swine flu care warning

24th July 2009

A study has said that cases of the swine flu virus could prove too much for intensive care units run by the health service in England.

swine flu

The study, published in the Anaesthesia journal, said the need for intensive care beds could exceed availability by up to 130%.

It estimated that units on the South East coast and in the South West, Midlands and East of England would be the worst affected.

The warning came as the World Health Organization predicted that there may be two billion cases of swine flu worldwide.

On Thursday a pregnant woman with swine flu, Sharon Pentleton, was flown from Scotland to Sweden to have a procedure known as extra corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) because there were no beds available in the UK.

Scottish health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said doctors were happy with how Ms Pentleton had travelled and she said the procedure "might and hopefully will save her life".

A spokesman for the Department of Health said all health service organisations were prepared for the pandemic.

"As part of our preparations, guidance has been issued which contains information for primary and secondary care services in the UK on managing surge capacity and the prioritisation of services and patients during an influenza widespread outbreak," he said.

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