New guidance was issued to GPs in January about how they should prepare for, and what to expect from, a flu pandemic.
The guidance, by the British Medical Association’s (BMA) GPs committee and the Royal College of General Practitioners, warned that the NHS would be put under “unprecedented pressure” by a pandemic, as the average GP practice would see an extra 186 cases of flu a week.
It said that GP practices would need to “buddy up” with neighbouring practices to share resources, while retired doctors would also be drafted in to ease pressure on services. Patients with flu would also get access to antiviral medicine through a new National Pandemic Flu Line Service, not their GP surgery, it said.
Dr Laurence Buckman, chairman of the BMA’s GP Committee, said: “During a pandemic the NHS would have to work differently – it’s a major health emergency and as such requires a totally different way of helping patients.”
Hear doctor Richard Preece, Occupational Health’s regular columnist, discussing pandemic flu in a podcast.