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Swine flu boosts Scottish GP consultations during winter

2 September 2010

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Measures to protect against swine flu sent the number of GP consultations in Scotland “through the roof” during the winter, with the biggest peak in November, according to official figures.

Family doctors gave 105 consultations for every 100,000 registered patients in the winter months, a higher proportion than previous years, while usually GPs are busiest in January.

Suspected H1N1 cases kept flu consultations unusually high throughout the summer, particularly in children aged under 14, with demand reaching 224 meetings per 100,000 patients.

Liberal Democrat public health spokesman Jamie Stone said: “It’s unsurprising that GP consultation rates about flu went through the roof last winter. NHS staff performed admirably under serious pressure.”

Scotland’s seasonal flu vaccination rate was 75%, just under the previous winter’s total, but above the 2010 target of 70%.

Mr Stone added: “The SNP must fight the urge to indulge in back-patting for hitting the target because it still left a quarter of the elderly population unvaccinated.

“Similarly, almost half of those under 65, who were assessed as being at risk, didn’t get the vaccine.”

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said swine flu is expected to be the most common influenza virus circulating in the next flu season.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

NHS Scotland