ITN is reporting that UK Hospitals are now setting up “Swine Flue Assessment Bays” in A&E Departments operating within the UK’s worst affected swine flu regions:
“Heartlands Hospital, Solihull Hospital and Good Hope Hospital in the West Midlands have taken the step after visitors to their A&E departments leapt by some 25% with people worried they may have the virus
The Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, responsible for the three hospitals, denied the bays were “swine flu receptions” but a spokeswoman said visitors to the main reception who are worried about the symptoms of swine flu are being directed to an assessment area.
The “majority” of those people are the “worried well” and are sent home, she added.
The spokeswoman said: “There are no ‘swine flu receptions’ – there are no designated receptionists – but there is a designated area where we are seeing people worried about swine flu.
“Those that come in are being assessed and the majority are the ‘worried well’ and are being turned away.”
She added: “We are asking people who display symptoms not to visit A&E, but to contact their GP or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.”
Despite a nationwide leaflet drop and the millions of calls being handled by NHS Direct, it’s obvious that the worried well are still demanding the scarce resources of emergency healthcare facilities.
There is a pressing need for using a quality online swine flu questionnaire (like the one we use at 3G Doctor) in combination with rich multimedia educational content because the GP’s can’t manage the extra workload and the call centres aren’t working.