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NHS told to brace itself for bad flu season

12 Septembre 2017

Simon Stevens, NHS England chief executive, said Australia and New Zealand have just suffered through a "heavy flu season" and that "pressures are going to be real" when it hits the UK.

But he insisted measures were being taken to ensure the NHS was prepared.

Flu could put much more pressure than usual on Global Positioning System and hospitals this winter, health bosses are predicting.

Mr Stevens said it had been a "heavy flu season" and many hospitals had struggled to cope, which should act as a warning to the health service and the need to get as many people as possible vaccinated.

"The signs from Australia and New Zealand, who are just coming out of their winter, are that it has been a heavy flu season and numerous hospitals down there have struggled to cope".

Australia is now in the grip of its worst flu outbreak on record, and the global circulation of the virus means that episodes in the Antipodes and Asia are indicators of the likelihood of outbreaks in Europe later in the year.

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"The WHO identifies the best mix for the vaccine and that is the one Public Health England use".

Australian health bosses have recorded 98,000 cases of the flu this season and labelled it their worst on record.

"We are reviewing the Australia and New Zealand experience, where hospitals have closed to new patients and reported very long waiting times", he said.

Pauline Philip, the National A&E Director, carried out a review of NHS preparation for winter with a view to ensuring there are 2,000 to 3,000 more beds available in hospitals across the country.

"In some parts of the country, clearly there are real pressures, so we are using the next six to eight weeks to really be clear what the plan there needs to be", he said.

"Our goal was that A&E performance should be back to 90 per cent (of patients being seen within four hours) by September and we are on track for that goal".

NHS told to brace itself for bad flu season