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WEBCHAT GUIDELINES 1. One question per member plus one follow-up. 2. Keep your question brief. 3. Don't moan if your question doesn't get answered. 4. Do be civil/polite. More here.

Live webchat with Health Secretary Andy Burnham today (Weds 22 July) 2.30-3.30pm

(276 Posts)
HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 21-Jul-09 20:00:24

We're delighted to announce that Andy Burnham, Secretary of State for Health, will be joining us on Mumsnet tomorrow (Wednesday 22 July) between 2.30pm and 3.30pm for a live webchat, during which he's promised to answer your questions about swine flu (and anything else you'd like to know).

Andy has been Health Secretary since June this year. He is also MP for Leigh in Greater Manchester, was born in Liverpool, has three children, supports Everton and, apparently, plays a mean riff on the guitar.

Because of the last-minute scheduling of this webchat, we're NOT taking advance questions, so stand by your keyboards at 2.30pm tomorrow (or get someone else to ask your question if you can't be there)!

LoveBeingAMummy Wed 22-Jul-09 10:50:41

OK to help ensure tht no-one gets missed thought I'd put them all together in one place so its easier to work through.

1) By FiveGoMadInDorset on Tue 21-Jul-09 21:44:27
On Breakfast yesterday morning (Monday) you were asked how many people had died didn't have underlying health issues. You dodged the question saying that you would answer it in your statement to the house of commons in the afternoon, which I listened to and you didn't.

So how many who have died have no underlying health conditions as I feel that we the public, the people who elected you, have a right to know how seriously we should be taking this.

2) By BoffinMum on Tue 21-Jul-09 22:52:06
Why is nobody giving advice about breastfeeding?

3)By LeninGrad on Tue 21-Jul-09 22:56:06
Can't make the chat as at an antenatal appt but if someone could ask some of these, I'd be grateful.

It'd be really helpful if we could get some clarity on if/how/why they think this strain may be disproportionally affecting pg women.

Essentially, I think we need to know what other health conditions, if any, the pg women in intensive care or who died may have or have had, what actual complication it is that they are having (pneumonia?) and what, if anything, we can do to recognise deterioration in order to act quickly (if that helps).

I'd like to see more info on Relenza as a prophylactic, not sure that message is getting through.

Also, some info on numbers of pg women hospitalised with complications from seasonal flu would be helpful too, along with outcomes of course.

Finally, is it thought that this strain can cross the placenta and what are the implications of that if so?

It seems to me either the media is being a bit irresponsible in its reporting, or the govt isn't doing enough to explain the risks or issues, or possibly a bit of both.

4) By GIvePeasAChance on Tue 21-Jul-09 23:02:41
Can you ask him how he got the job?

And finally, is Swine flu a welcome diversion from the disgrace of the commons expenses scandal and the total lack of integrity amongst MPs?

5) By 1dilemma on Tue 21-Jul-09 23:22:53
oh yes agree with the advance questions and the reason why we're not allowed to ask them.

Would anyone like to ask him why it is so hard to get an appointment? I am currently proofreading my complaint letter to the chief exec because I was refused a 24 week scan (I admit I turned up 15 mins late but I was kept waiting over an hour for my 12 week scan and tube delays aren't my fault) I was disconnected from the GP 4 times this morning in an attempt to get my next antenatal appointment and I have pretty much given up trying to get my kids their routine jabs I am fed up of being told there are no appointments left and I have to phone back between 8.45 and 8.50 in 3.5 weeks time on any day except one with a y in it!

6) By elkiedee on Wed 22-Jul-09 00:12:26
Please could someone ask these two questions for me (we're taking our two sons to meet their paternal grandmother, ds2 for the 1st time).

1. What do you think the government could do to improve support within the NHS for those women who want to breastfeed but give up much earlier than they expected or planned to?

2. Could someone ask about breastfeeding in public and protecting the right of all women to feed their babies/young children in public (and not just up to 6 months either). Can't quite put the words together properly, sorry!

7) By Grendle on Wed 22-Jul-09 01:02:25
I can't make it sad.

Please can someone ask these for me:

I would like to know what he thinks of the RCOG/RCM guidelines on swine flu and pregnancy. In particular, as access to homebirths can be so variable anyway, will their advice that if services are stretched generally then homebirth services may be cancelled be used as an excuse to deny women the choices they want in birthing? What will be done to ensure this isn't the case?

Also, if services get really stretched due to staff illness, how will they make sure that breastfeeding and other postnatal needs are fully supported? Particularly if as RCOG/RCM suggest women may be encouraged out of hospital faster and not receive postnatal home visits from midwives. Will all hospitals be actively promoting referrals to the voluntary breastfeeding helplines as a backup?

Please could more information about relenza and any flu vaccine and pregnancy be provided in order that pregnant women can make informed decisions about whether or not to take up these options. Simply saying 'this is what we recommend, there's no evidence of harm' isn't really reassuring enough, nor enough info on which to make a judgement. Pregnant women are not sheep smile.

Why has all formula advertising including follow-on formula not yet been banned? These products are used and needed by lots of people, but they don't need to be advertised. Impartial information on formula and bottle feeding would be better than marketing.

8) By manfrom on Wed 22-Jul-09 09:39:31
Pity that there are no advance questions. I'd like to know if he regrets accusing David Davies of having "late-night, hand-wringing, heart-melting phone calls" (fnarr fnarr) with Shami Chakrabati........

9) By StarlightMcKenzie on Wed 22-Jul-09 10:19:07
From the NICE guidelines published today:

Ensuring access to appropriate medical care or treatment
1.3.9 Consider neglect if parents or carers fail to administer essential prescribed treatment for their child.

1.3.10 Consider neglect if parents or carers repeatedly fail to attend essential follow-up appointments that are necessary for their child’s health and wellbeing.

1.3.11 Consider neglect if parents or carers persistently fail to engage with relevant child health promotion programmes which include:
• immunisation
• health and development reviews
• screening.

You gotta be kidding right?

10) LoveBeingAMummy, At what point would movement be restricted due to swine flu? Also What is being done about the ongoing issues with maternity services, the lack of midwifes, the terrible hospital services, no resources to support everyone who wants a home birth, poor support for breastfeeding etc. Thanks

TallulahToo Wed 22-Jul-09 10:52:13

I can't make it either &, for once, have a question that I really would like an answer to:

Swine flu not only a particular hazard to pregnant mums but also to the under 5's. Why then does the government not advocate closing of school nurseries when a case is found?

sarah293 Wed 22-Jul-09 11:03:07

Message withdrawn

atlantis Wed 22-Jul-09 11:13:28


don't you know by now this government brings in legislation to enable the SS to steal
take children into care so they can indoctronate bring them up to state values?

Us mothers are just breeding vessles, not educated in the ways of socialist Labour teachings on how children should behave, what their values should be, where as Labour have been social engineering molding children for the past 12 years to their standards. Which is why we have so many lost violent dumbed down well adjusted children now.

atlantis Wed 22-Jul-09 11:22:26

Are Mr Burnhams children going to be vaccinated in the first 'untested' wave to come from the manufacturer or is he going to wait until the vaccine has been proven before allowing his children to have the shots?

Has his children been vaccinated with the MMR or did he opt for single doses?

Does he believe it is right to carry on innoculating teenage girls against cirvical cancer in light of the deaths and paralysis that have occured when many of these girls would not have gone on to get cancer in the first place?

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 22-Jul-09 11:24:50

Message withdrawn

TallulahToo Wed 22-Jul-09 11:47:12

Mr Burnham, I just wanted to echo Sarlights question.

Early intervention for autism is a proven key to successful outcomes for autistic children so...

WHEN will the government step-up their early investigation and diagnosis?,

When will the government actually put together a real programme for professionals to work to?

When will the government recognise that support to the whole family, for all disabilities, is another key?

When will parent-carer's be given more support to access programmes?

Stigaloid Wed 22-Jul-09 11:54:05

I am quite nervous about swine flu as am pregnant and have a 2 year old. Will vaccines be available to us and if so when? How do we know that vaccinnes won't hurt my unborn baby?

How many of the pregnant women who have died did not have underlying health problems?

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 22-Jul-09 12:01:25

Message withdrawn

kathyis6incheshigh Wed 22-Jul-09 12:35:36

Are there figures available on how many pregnant women with swine flu have miscarried?

Ripeberry Wed 22-Jul-09 14:12:41

Shocking! Basically you will be MADE to vaccinate your child. Blimey that Torchwood episode comes to mind [shock}

alittlebitfat Wed 22-Jul-09 14:16:58

I'm a hcp, I'm already aware of the strain on critical care beds during a normal winter, I feel extremely anxious about this winter as there will simply not be enough itu/hdu beds available.

SpookyJules Wed 22-Jul-09 14:17:23

Could Mr Burnham tell us the proportion of pregnant women who contracted swine flu that have died? We've heard how many pregnant women have died but not how many pregnant women contracted it that only had mild symptoms and were ok.

SpookyJules Wed 22-Jul-09 14:18:46

Could Mr Burnham tell us the proportion of pregnant women who contracted swine flu that have been ok? We've heard how many pregnant women have died but not how many pregnant women contracted it that only had mild symptoms and were ok.

blondieminx Wed 22-Jul-09 14:25:35

Mr Burnham, please could you ensure that your staff update the swine flu advice line with the correct number to call to access treatment? This simple point would do much to reduce the confusion that is upsetting so many people.

I'm 15 weeks pregnant and last Wednesday I fell ill with the flu. I rang the number on the Swine Flu information leaflet all households have received and the recorded message told me to ring my GP - so I did.

The receptionist there told me to ring NHS direct or the "local co-ordination centre". I queried which of the 2 she'd recommend hmm - she said ring the co-ordination centre. I queued for 15 mins but then spoke to a very helpful man who prescribed Relenza and suggested I also contact my midwife.

In addition to Leningrad's questions, please could you also outline what continuity planning is being undertaken in hospitals to ensure that this country's already overstretched midwifery service gets support so that midwives are there when we need them when the time comes to deliver our babies?

Also please could you confirm whether hospitals will be given guidance to offer reassurance scans to mothers-to-be who have taken Relenza (bearing in mind the lack of data about this drug)?

While I realise you may not be able to offer answers to these questions straight away, I would expect your office to research, co-ordinate and provide FULL answers to all of our questions to be posted on this site within the next few days (and certainly before next Wednesday) if you are really committed to the idea of open, accessible government for all and to providing information to reassure us. Thank you.

alittlebitfat Wed 22-Jul-09 14:27:02

Also, worried that other serious conditons may get overlooked by meningitits, similar symptoms

thegrammerpolice Wed 22-Jul-09 14:27:12

I believe that there is vast over-diagnosis of Swine Flu going on in hot spot areas. Children who have the slightest temperature and any two other symptoms are diagnosed with it and handed Tamiflu which many of them probably don't need. Surely this means the figures are over-estimates of the true spread of the disease?

I'd like to know what proportion of swabbed suspected cases have actually tested positive for SF (I believe that small numbers are still being swabbed) and what proportion actually had other illnesses.

AndyBurnham Wed 22-Jul-09 14:30:20

test test

VulpusinaWilfsuit Wed 22-Jul-09 14:30:56

Is he on his way MNHQ?

SpookyJules Wed 22-Jul-09 14:32:24

Live questions yet? Could Mr Burnham tell us the proportion of pregnant women who contracted swine flu that have been ok? We've heard how many pregnant women have died but not how many pregnant women contracted it that only had mild symptoms and were ok.

megcleary Wed 22-Jul-09 14:32:29

I have read thet it would be best NOT to close schools in september and allow children to get immunity before the the winter version of a flu appears, do have any comment on this?

VulpusinaWilfsuit Wed 22-Jul-09 14:32:50

Oh, that'll be a yes.


We are exercised about the possibility of school closures in the autumn. Could you clarify the govt's position on this and let us know what factors will influence the decision to do so, how such a policy would be applied, whether it will also apply to other settings where children will gather (childcare settings, play settings etc)?

Could you clarify if this is indeed a potential decision, what protections will be in place to protect working parents' employment rights?

JimmyMcNulty Wed 22-Jul-09 14:33:32

Why can I not get an appointment to see a GP at my local practice (except for WEEKS in advance) except by ringing up at 8am on the dot for an 'emergency' appointment on the day? This was the same at my last GP practice as well before we moved area and I'm told it's so that they hit targets. Are you looking at fixing this?

kathyis6incheshigh Wed 22-Jul-09 14:33:46

Hello Andy.
Welcome to Mumsnet.

Lots of us are pregnant right now and we don't feel like we're getting a lot of information about how the illness affects the majority of pregnant women. For instance, how many only get mild symptoms? How many have miscarried?

yappybluedog Wed 22-Jul-09 14:33:52

Mr Burnham, I notice you are MP for Leigh - do you enjoy a bowl of lobbies for tea sometimes?

If you are ever in Asda do say hello to my sister

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