Flu outbreak puts pressure on hospital

AN EARLY outbreak of flu has left Suffolk hospital staff under pressure and health officials are urging people to only visit A&E or call an ambulance in a genuine emergency.

AN EARLY outbreak of flu has left Suffolk hospital staff under pressure and health officials are urging people to only visit A&E or call an ambulance in a genuine emergency.

Jan Rowsell, spokeswoman for Ipswich hospital, said: “This time of year is obviously traditionally our busiest and last week was extremely busy.

“This year with flu, and flu-like symptoms, we have a lot of ill people with breathing difficulties, and respiratory problems.”

Dr Peter Bradley, director of public health for NHS Suffolk and Suffolk County Council, said: “Influenza is extremely contagious and can be potentially very serious, and we have been urging everyone who is eligible to make sure they have had a flu vaccination at their local GP surgery.

“However, although flu has started earlier this year than it did last year, levels are not unusually high at this stage.

“In general, the Christmas period can be very busy for the NHS, so we have been asking everyone in Suffolk to plan well and make sure they go to the right place for treatment over the holidays.”

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Dr Bradley said that people should only contact the ambulance service or visit A&E in a genuine emergency, and can gain further advice from NHS Direct, on 0845 46 47, local pharmacies, GP surgeries and the minor injury units at Felixstowe and Ipswich.

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