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Swine flu service to close down as outbreak eases

5 February 2010

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The National Pandemic Flu Service (NPFS) is to close following a steady fall in the number of swine flu cases.

The helpline and website will no longer be in service from 11 February. Studies show that the majority of people who contracted swine flu suffered relatively mild illness.

The move could be interpreted as a sign the outbreak is over in Britain, but Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer, has warned against complacency.

Health Minister Gillian Merron said the NPFS could be reactivated in seven days should it be needed.

People who suspect they have swine flu will be directed to their GP instead of the antiviral collection points from next week, she added.

In a written ministerial statement to MPs, Ms Merron said: “We have asked GPs to make further contact with people in the priority groups who are at higher risk from the disease and who have not yet had the vaccine.”

Ms Merron said GPs and PCTs were now able to manage the swine flu caseload themselves, and the decision to close down the service was taken with the “full support” of the professional bodies.

Copyright © Press Association 2010