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Wales has no need for swine-flu “call centres”, says GP leader

26 August 2009

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GP leaders in Wales say they are more than adequately prepared to deal with swine flu and that currently there is absolutely no need for the Welsh NHS to sign up to the National Pandemic Flu phone line, now operating in England.

Dr David Bailey (pictured), Chairman of the BMA’s GP Committee in Wales, said: “BMA Cymru Wales completely supports Wales’ Chief Medical Officer and the Welsh Assembly Government in their decision to opt out of the National Pandemic Flu service.

“I strongly believe that patients want diagnoses – of whatever their illness may be – made by clinicians, not call centres.”

Dr Bailey said that GPs in Wales were “adequately equipped to manage swine flu”, though he readily admitted that the virus had impacted upon the profession’s workload.

He said: “Yes, myself and colleagues have in previous weeks been working harder, but we have just proved how we can step up to the mark when necessary and that we can deliver and will continue to deliver extremely good levels of patient care.”

Dr Bailey added: “The general public does have a part to play in helping to contain the spread of swine flu for the coming winter months, by self-caring if their symptoms do not seem to be too severe.

“The majority of healthy people can manage the virus themselves, without the need to see their GP, as is the case with other seasonal flu viruses.”

BMA Wales