British swine flu advice service to go live

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British Health Secretary Andy Burnham has outlined plans for a swine flu advice service, which will available by the end of the week in the UK.

According to Burnham, the flu service will be able to diagnose people with swine flu quickly and give them the opportunity to get anti-viral drugs from local centres, freeing up doctors’ time. The government says this new flu service will include a hotline and internet advice.

Meanwhile, the British government has been trying to clear up confusion about its advice to pregnant women.The National Health Service website has for the past 11 days been advising pregnant women that they can reduce their risk of infection by avoiding unnecessary travel and staying away from crowds where possible. This guidance was backed by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) at the weekend.

However, the Department of Health did not support this advice on its own website over the weekend, as had been expected. A department source later confirms: “Our advice has not changed. For the majority of pregnant women, good hand hygiene will be enough.”

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