[Classic headline by Jenny
Hope, the vaccine seller on the Daily Mail.Swine flu: The 'perfect storm',
with the usual suspect: John
Oxford and his bollocks: 'because two-thirds of the
population did not get swine flu during the last two outbreaks, they
risk falling victim now....huge numbers
of people travelling to see family and friends over Christmas and New
Year were carrying flu infections to different areas.'
You won't ever hear that Vitamin C saved the life of a man in NZ, who
was dying from 'swine flu':
[2010 Aug Video]
Swine Flu Cure using Vitamin C Therapy]
As GP practices open for the first time
after the extended bank holiday weekend, demand for swine flu
vaccine is expected to soar
A ‘perfect storm’ of winter illness will batter Britain’s health
Hospitals will be pushed to breaking point by a post-Christmas deluge
of patients suffering from flu and the winter vomiting bug.
Accident and emergency departments are bracing themselves for a surge
of referrals as GP practices open for the first time after the extended
bank holiday weekend.
They are also expecting high numbers of elderly patients to be
brought in as they are visited by care workers for the first time in
Soaring levels of both seasonal and swine flu will heap extra strain
on hospitals already dealing with cases of the sickness bug norovirus,
which usually peak at this time of year.
It is feared many potentially seriously ill patients will have waited
until after the four-day weekend to see their doctor, pushing services
to the limit.
The swine flu outbreak sparked a furious war of words last night as
Health Minister Simon Burns accused Labour of exploiting the virus for
He rejected claims by Shadow Health Secretary John Healey that the
Government had ‘cancelled’ a flu jab plan for under-fives to save money.
Mr Burns insisted that ministers ruled out a blanket vaccination
programme for youngsters on medical grounds.
But as the virus continued to sweep the country yesterday, an expert
warned that Britain is on the ‘cusp’ of an epidemic.
Virologist professor John Oxford, from the University of London, said
that because two-thirds of the population did not get swine flu during
the last two outbreaks, they risk falling victim now.
Dr Jim Wardrope, former president of the College of Emergency
Medicine, who works at the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield,
warned today would be one of the busiest of the year for hospitals.
‘There is usually a peak after bank holiday weekends and this one has
lasted four days,’ he said. ‘There is definitely extra pressure at the
‘We have a perfect storm of flu and norovirus and the last few days
have been extremely busy. It’s the same for departments across the
He explained that hospitals normally experience a peak in referrals
from GPs following a bank holiday weekend as many patients are reluctant
to use out-of-hours services and would rather wait for a routine
The influx comes as the head of the Royal College of GPs urged
vulnerable patients to get the vaccine amid fears that Britain is on the
brink of an epidemic.
Dr Clare Gerada said stocks of the jab arrived in most surgeries on
Christmas Eve so there were currently enough supplies, and manufacturers
were able to fill more orders.
Professor John Oxford said that huge numbers of people travelling to
see family and friends over Christmas and New Year were carrying flu
infections to different areas.
He added that it was possible children going back to school would
also trigger a surge in flu cases.
This year’s seasonal flu vaccine contains protection against H1N1 and
two other strains of flu virus, but uptake has been lower than expected
in ‘at risk’ groups.
Around 45 per cent of those with underlying medical conditions have
had the jab.
But only one in four pregnant women have done so – despite being four
times more likely to develop potentially deadly breathing problems
caused by swine flu.
Children under five are currently excluded from having a routine jab
as part of the NHS programme, although many were vaccinated as a one-off
measure during the swine flu pandemic and will retain some immunity as a
Independent medical advisers to the Government yesterday denied they
had ever recommended routine seasonal jabs for young healthy children.
However, there have been reports that parents trying to get private
jabs for their children have been turned away by High Street pharmacies
and told to contact their GPs. Dr Gerada said GPs were prioritising
patients so the most vulnerable were vaccinated first.
Children who were eligible because of underlying health conditions
were among those, she added.
‘We want patients who need vaccinating because they’re at risk to
come and see us, or contact the surgery for an appointment,’ she said.
‘Pregnant women, the elderly and those with a range of health
conditions can get a jab.’
Figures released last Friday show the number of patients in critical
care – most of whom have swine flu – had more than doubled in a week,
from 182 to 460.
In total, 27 have died of confirmed flu since October, with 24 of
those dying of swine flu. Only one of those patients whose vaccine
status was known had received a seasonal jab.
The revelation came as the parents of teenager Natalie Hill, who died
of swine flu just before Christmas, described the joy she brought them.
The 17-year-old passed away just 42 hours after doctors at Hull Royal
Infirmary discovered she had the H1N1 virus.
Victim: Natalie Hill, 17, is thought to have
caught the virus at Hull Royal Infirmary
Mother Carol Hill, 50, from Hull, said: ‘She was a blessing in so
many ways and made our family stronger. We just tried to give her
everything a child would ever want. She has brought us all great joy.’
Miss Hill had battled necrotising enterocolitis – a condition which
destroys part of the intestines – since birth, and had spent five months
in a high-dependency unit because of complications.
A spokesman for the British Medical Association said the NHS had been
very busy over the long bank holiday break.
She added: ‘There will be some extra demand on the first day back to
work, but patients who need medical help over the holiday have been
getting it from out-of-hours services, walk-in clinics and Accident and
‘We don’t anticipate anything that exceptional for the time of year.’
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: ‘The NHS was well prepared in
advance, and it is coping well with the effects of the severe weather
and flu. GP practices have been inviting people for whom the flu
vaccination is recommended to have the vaccine, and I would urge them to
A spokesman for the Department of Health said there was no problem
with vaccine supplies because GPs could order more if demand increased.
Professor Steve Field, former chairman of the Royal College of GPs,
warned that no one should be complacent about flu.
He told BBC News: ‘People don’t feel that this is a serious illness.
‘We know it can be, particularly for those people with heart disease,
chest disease and pregnant women.
‘They should come forward and have a vaccination.’
Labour 'playing politics' in vaccine row
Labour were last night accused of ‘stooping to a new low of political
opportunism’ by using the swine flu outbreak to attack the
Health minister Simon Burns has rejected claims by Shadow Health
Secretary John Healey that the Government ‘cancelled’ a flu jab plan for
under-fives as a cost-cutting exercise designed to save £85 million.
Mr Burns insisted ministers had ruled out the blanket vaccination
programme based on expert medical advice.
Last year, all healthy children aged six months to five years were
offered the jab. This year, doctors asked for £25 per patient to cover
the costs of the jabs for the 38 million youngsters.
The Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations said in January
it would be ‘prudent’ to offer the jab to all under-fives, but by July
that advice had changed. The jab would be offered only to those
youngsters deemed clinically ‘at risk’.
Mr Healey accused ministers of making the ‘wrong judgment’ by
cancelling the jabs. Mr Burns yesterday hit back, saying: ‘Labour have
stooped to a new low of political opportunism.
‘The Government is legally obliged to implement recommendations made
by experts on the joint committee.
‘John Healey is either spectacularly ill-informed or playing politics
with people’s health.’
Mr Healey told the Mail on Tuesday: ‘The problem lies with the groups
most at risk, like children. That has come because the Government axed
the annual advertising campaign and cancelled the flu jab plan for the