Ten people critically ill with swine flu

TEN people are critically ill in hospitals in the east of England because of swine flu.

Anthony Bond

TEN people are critically ill in hospitals in the east of England because of swine flu.

They are among a group of 37 patients who are currently being treated in the region's hospitals in connection with swine flu.

Vaccines are now starting to arrive at GP surgeries so that priority patients can be immunised. Staff at Ipswich Hospital will also start to be vaccinated against the virus today.

Jan Rowsell, spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital, said there have been a small number of patients with confirmed cases of the virus at the hospital but a large number of suspected cases.

“We have been working very hard for many months now to make sure that we have got very robust plans in place both to safeguard our patients and to safeguard staff,” she said.

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“Lots of work has been done across the organisations and agencies involved to make sure that we do the very best for the people that we serve. We have high level meetings every week and have been planning in detail for the things that we need to put in place if and should we have a surge in the number of people with this kind of flu.

“We monitor it daily and we have a dedicated area of the hospital which would open if we had any number at all of people coming through that needed immediate care with swine flu.”

Dr Brian Keeble, flu director at NHS Suffolk, said: “Although the swine flu virus has so far proved to be mild in most people, for others it has been more serious. By vaccinating these high risk groups first we are aiming to protect those most vulnerable to this virus.

“The plan is that all people in these priority groups will be invited for vaccination by their GP before the end of November - and of course, everyone can do their bit to prevent the spread of swine flu, simply by washing their hands properly and regularly.”