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Government swine flu advice is conflicting, according to GPs

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The Government has given conflicting advice to doctors and patients over the swine flu pandemic, GPs claim.

The outbreak has been linked to 17 UK deaths so far and GPs have complained of confusion over prescribing the antiviral drug Tamiflu. Poor out-of-hours planning and a lack of knowledge over how long patients should stay at home if they have the virus were also highlighted as problems by family doctors.

In the last week, there has been almost a 50% rise in people contacting doctors with fears they have swine flu, and around 40,000 people a week in England and Wales are now complaining to their doctor of ‘flu-like illness’.

The Royal College of GPs figures showed 50.3 people per 100,000 were reporting flu-like illness between June 29 and July 5. But this leapt 46% to 73.4 people per 100,000 between July 6 and 12.

The college cited a ‘lack of information and conflicting advice’ from both the Government and PCTs.

But in a submission to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, the college said it was ‘very pleased’ with the responsiveness of health officials.

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