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Swine Flu and NHS Direct

(75 Posts)
NHSDirect Thu 16-Jul-09 00:16:32

Hi guys,

We registered earlier today in the hope of being able to answer some of your questions about swine flu, and your comments and complaints about how NHS Direct are dealing with the health alert. It seems that since there are so many SF threads currently open here, another one probably won't go amiss.

I collated a lot of your feedback throughout the day and have passed it on to the appropriate departments within the organisation. I'm sure you appreciaate that these are busy times for us, but all being well, I should be able to give you some responses by Friday, if not tomorrow.

In the meantime, we will continue to provide health advice and information via our website - www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk and to deal with urgent health enquiries (as well as swine flu) on 0845 4647, 24 hours a day.

Take care

NHS Direct

whomovedmychocolate Thu 16-Jul-09 07:58:26

Welcome - you might want to put this in non-member requests though - else nobody will see it!

Iworryalot Thu 16-Jul-09 07:59:42

Thank you ...

will look out for your response .

poface Thu 16-Jul-09 08:50:18

something seems to be going seriously wrong with the system at the moment so I hope NHS Direct take heed of people's experiences here with sick children.

atlantis Thu 16-Jul-09 09:03:55

Maybe someone could actually get the information out to the people that this 'flu' is not 'normal' flu, you do not get the normal symptoms with it, it's only by everyone chatting here that many have realised they have it/ had it by matching symptoms.

While I don't blame you guys ( I prefer to blame this useless government) it would be so helpful for someone to actually come out and say 'if you've had flu in the past, this will NOT be the same' don't rely on past experiences to judge if you have SF now.

I actually had a very positive experience with NHS direct when I called for advice, although living in herts I was quite shocked at being transfered to scotland? unless my ears decieved me? I was called back by a nurse within 1 1/2 hrs and they got my out of hours gp to call me, again within 1 1/2 hrs! That was last saturday.

Maybe you guys should check the symptoms people have here and put a new list up on your site?

BintOfBohemia Thu 16-Jul-09 09:08:53

atlantis - following on from that, do you think it's possible to have had it and not registered it because it didn't feel "serious" enough to be it, IYSWIM?

Basically, we've all had snotty noses, sore throats, tickly dry coughs, the odd sneeze and slightly off stomachs. The baby had a temperature for a day or so but seems ok now. I'm not sure if some of it's hay fever, but it seems a bit more than that perhaps. Could it be SF, do you think? Is it not always some dramatic hideous wipe-you-out totally flu bug?

fluquestion Thu 16-Jul-09 09:13:02

It would be helpful to have some general guidelines for caring for babies and toddlers who are exhibiting flu- like symptoms. For some people it will be their first experience of dealing with a poorly little one.

I presume we need to contact the GP/ NHS Direct if we feel our babies are ill but need to know what to do until we speak to/ see someone if services are stretched.

Aslo would be interesting to hear what the plans are with vaccinations. Will babies and small toddlers be vaccinated? Have heard conflicting information.

Many thanks.

atlantis Thu 16-Jul-09 09:16:09

If you check out the 'christ I feel awful' thread you will see the different types of symptoms people are coming down with, it's not 'normal' flu and it does hit some harder than others BOB.

You could all have had it and fought it off with minimal problems, which is why I think the media are so irresponsible for up playing this flu and scaring people into believing if we get it we will die.

Iworryalot Thu 16-Jul-09 09:16:26

asking same as you Blintofbohemia, only for my sister she has DD 3 temp , come & going , cough , runny nose , slight upset stomach ... is this SF she has got case of SF in nearby nursery to ...i said she should call doc , she called NHS direct listened to answer message , so thinks she may have it...but as she at moment seems ok in her self give or take a bit ... thinks it isnt SF or she will be ok , maybe mild dose ..
what are the exact symptoms ? are they same as normal Flue .....

we r going up for weeks visit next friday now really concerned weather we should be going ? i have kids 7&9 and i am worried we will get it ....sad

RubberDuck Thu 16-Jul-09 09:16:54

Bint - we've been discussing this on this thread. Apparently not everyone gets the fever.

I'm still not sure if I had it or not, but it's in our school and our whole family has had an evil spikey throat, really severe cold, aches, no appetite. I vomited once with it, ds2 had slight diarrhoea. We're all really wiped out and I'm still shattered by 4pm (had this 'cold' over a fortnight ago now). No idea if it was SF or not, but others who have been officially diagnosed with it had very similar symptoms.

I just feel terrible because I kept sending the kids to school as it was 'just' a cold. If I'd known that fever wasn't always present, I would have erred on the side of caution. Though on the flip side, if I have had it, then I'm relieved because it wasn't as bad as when I've previously had flu (I'm asthmatic).

whomovedmychocolate Thu 16-Jul-09 09:18:26

It would also be a great help to have another number for NHS direct for non-swine flu diseases, people still get other things too and if we are queuing for four hours to get a call back and it's not for swine flu but something equally urgent you are going to miss things.

Has anyone died yet of meningitis because they assumed it was swine flu and waited in line on the phone to report it?

BTW fluquestion local health authorities have started releasing dates for flu vax in some areas (mine included) and the under fives are in the first wave of vax. As are those with the dreaded underlying health conditions (a phrase which always makes me imagine little trolls popping up from behind you and whacking you with a spade)

sweetfall Thu 16-Jul-09 09:19:00

No it's not - it can be extremely mild and if there wasn't the media furore over it we'd all put it down to a summer bug

DD (aged 5) - lasted 2 days
- temp (but not excuciatingly high, it hit 39 which for her is low as she's always spiked high and had febrile episodes)
- sore tummy
- sore throat
- cough - ongoing mild cough worst at night lasted 2 - 3 weeks and started before the temp spike and continued afterwards, now virtually gone

DS (aged 8) - lasted a day
- vomiting, diarrhea
- sore tummy
- temp (only about 38.5)
- couple of sneezes

Me (aged humpty-two and asthmatic) - lasted 12 hours and I thought it was food poisoning
- acute stomach cramps
- diarrhea
- temp
- then ongoing mild but productive cough, occasional sneezes (like 3 times in a day) for 3 weeks now developed into tonsilitis

DH (imuno-surpressed) - no symptoms at all yet

poface Thu 16-Jul-09 09:21:51

the problem is sweetfall you can't be sure it was SF - other things still going around. I hope it was though!

WynkenBlynkenandNod Thu 16-Jul-09 09:32:02

I think it is really important as said above that people know it differs from normal flu and also a specific set of criteria as to when you do need to seek medical attention in a)children and b)adults.

A lot of people I know seem to automatically ring the doctor/NHS direct even though they have fairly mild cases which can easily be treated with common sense at home without any medical reference. I think the words swine flu instill a sense of panic at the moment (the death of the 6 year old and doctor took it to a new level understandably) and they are seeking advice to deal with things they wouldn't usually ring the doctor etc for, clogging up the sytem.

Could you get your PR people on the evening news to try to get the message out loud and clear exactly what the current symptoms are, how it differs from seasonal flu ie. you can have it without temperature etc, how to deal with them and when to seek medical help maybe ? I know a lot of the information is there but things have changed a bit over time and I think maybe a media push now would help people understand where we are at with it now.

RubberDuck Thu 16-Jul-09 09:35:13

Well it doesn't help that if you do need Tamiflu then you need to take it early on for it to be effective. I don't doubt that a lot of people are phoning so they can take Tamiflu just in case right at the beginning, without waiting to see if it's going to get worse.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Thu 16-Jul-09 09:40:48

Good point, had forgotten about Tamiflu in my current post some kind of virus that has made me feel bad state !

What is the current situation with Tamiflu, are people able to get it at the beginning of any flu like systems or it is now being reserved for those in the most vulnerable categories, how is the system working with it exactly ?

Someone was telling me that their surgery now has a big sign on the door saying any flu like symptoms assume it is swine flu and don't come in, but I don't think there was any mention of access to Tamiflu.

whomovedmychocolate Thu 16-Jul-09 09:54:35

I think that was me - with my GP surgery I mean Wynken. They don't have any Tamiflu left apparently hmm

Not that I'd take it.

I think we need to rename it something benign: fairy sneeze disease perhaps. I know it sounds silly but people see any animal name with a disease and they assume the worst it seems. I know this can kill but so can a common cold!

RubberDuck Thu 16-Jul-09 09:54:49

I wonder if NHSDirect is ever coming back to this thread or if we have to wait 24hrs for an advisor to come back to us and just tell us to get our info from elsewhere anyway grin.

No offense, NHSDirect, but your twitter stream seems utterly pointless too. It's all very well having a "presence" but it would be nice if you gave actual information too.

This is why I never bother phoning NHSDirect anymore, even before the flu outbreak. Our out-of-hours GP service is wonderful.

whomovedmychocolate Thu 16-Jul-09 10:01:07

I also never bother with NHS Direct. I have enough common sense to be able to discern whether this is a severe emergency, something that can wait till morning or something that can't wait till morning but doesn't warrant A&E and in any case, whenever I phone them they send me to the out of hours service anyway.

There's certainly a difference between 'my child seems generally unwell' and 'my child has a very high temperature, has had a febrile fit and I am unable to reduce his temperature with paracetamol' - for the latter, why would I waste four hours waiting on line for NHS direct?

JudyBlume1019 Thu 16-Jul-09 10:04:58

Oh god, this is so typical of NHS direct!!!! All about publicity and actually no help whatsoever! I for one am completely fed up with them.
I have not been able to get through to them once throughout dds swine flu illness, and once when I called and pressed the numbers to get through to the special helpline for small children, was told that the line had now closed! angry angryangryangryangryangryangryangryangryangryangryangryangryangryangry[a ngry]angryangryangryangryangryangryangryangry

poface Thu 16-Jul-09 10:06:08

Agree rubberduck. When NHS Direct first opened I tried them a few times. Each time, when they did call me back, they read from a sheet and then advised me to call my GP. Total waste of resources in my opinion that should have been used to for individual surgeries. Our our of hours surgery also very good, even though only one for the whole city.

Greensleeves Thu 16-Jul-09 10:09:13

to be fair they are absolutely inundated

I am in my third week with the flu now and still feeling like shit

naturally the demand on the NHS, especially NHS Direct is massively increased and they are struggling to cope

not that my 'treatment' has been perfect, or even satisfactory - it hasn't and I am well pissed off with the two doctors who have fobbed me off

but a certain amount of inconsistency, confusion and delay is unavoidable

at least they are trying to find other ways of making themselves available - posting on web comunities etc

JudyBlume1019 Thu 16-Jul-09 10:09:41

NHSdirect also posted on this thread on Wed 15-Jul-09 09:42:03.

No use whatsoever either!!!

Blimey you can just imagine the meeting where the job of posting on mumsnet was delegated to the student, and never followed up! The incompetence!!!!!!
angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry

JudyBlume1019 Thu 16-Jul-09 10:11:11

but greensleeves, they are not making themselves available. They have posted once on a web site, and teh buggered off. No sensible questions answered or help given.

poface Thu 16-Jul-09 10:14:03

I'm talking years back when NHS Direct first opened. I was bemused by what they were for even then, as wmmc said, surely people have enough common sense to know when their child needs to be seen urgently or not.

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