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England's National Pandemic Flu service

Eddie Mair | 16:12 UK time, Thursday, 23 July 2009

is here.

The phone number is 0800 1 513 100. flu.JPG


  • 1. At 4:28pm on 23 Jul 2009, Owen Dunn wrote:

    And lo, the website was launched and immediately became "too busy" to diagnose anything. (Did anyone expect any different?)

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  • 2. At 4:37pm on 23 Jul 2009, tug wrote:

    I notice that one piece of information you need to give them is your National Health Number. Not only do I not know mine but I don't have the slightest idea how to find out what it is. Does anybody here know theirs?

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  • 3. At 4:52pm on 23 Jul 2009, DI_Wyman wrote:

    Hi Tug....

    All babies born in England and Wales are given an NHS Number at birth. Other people need to officially join the NHS to get an NHS number. You can do this by:

    approaching an NHS GP surgery, or health centre, and asking to permanently join their surgery list,
    contacting a Primary Care Trust (PCT) who will place you on a local NHS GP surgery list, or
    being treated at an NHS hospital that is able to allocate NHS numbers.
    Your NHS number is printed on your medical card (FP4). However, if you have a medical card that is more than eight years old, it may show your old NHS number. The new number is 10 digits long.

    Your NHS number is written on your medical history notes, so to find out what it is, you can simply ask your GP, or contact your local Primary Care Trust (PCT).

    There you go mate.

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  • 4. At 4:54pm on 23 Jul 2009, tug wrote:

    Thanks. DI.

    So I have to contact my GP to use a system which is set up to avoid the need for me to contact my GP :)

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  • 5. At 5:01pm on 23 Jul 2009, mittfh wrote:

    Can we quickly organise a H1N1 party for a certain controversial cyclist? It might be the only way to get Wiggo (currently 4th) on the podium... :)

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  • 6. At 5:01pm on 23 Jul 2009, DI_Wyman wrote:

    Hi Tug, yep! But not only that you will probably find that they won't give it out over the phone, data protection etc, so will probably have pop on the old No. 3 and nip down in person.

    And while you are there you could always seek some swine flu advice.

    DiY ;-)

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  • 7. At 5:05pm on 23 Jul 2009, U14079441 wrote:

    Does it offer advice on Equine Flu?

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  • 8. At 5:19pm on 23 Jul 2009, Squirrel wrote:

    My NHS number is on my medical records?!

    I don't know about anyone else, but my local hospital trust has a trust patient number and a hospital number for me. The PCT have another patient number as do several other hospital trusts. Then my GP has another different patient number for me! Then two numbers to access the practice web pages. I could go on...

    Why don't they use the NATIONAL INSURANCE NUMBER, we all have one and most people will have it on a piece of paper (pay slip, tax notice, benefit letter, prescription, etc.) they can quickly bring to hand.

    I looked for advice earlier in the week, now I hear I have to register to get it, with a number which I don't even know! As with most government initiatives, too little, too late and not even working when it gets there...

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  • 9. At 5:34pm on 23 Jul 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    I keep my medical card with my car documents.

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  • 10. At 5:38pm on 23 Jul 2009, Squirrel wrote:

    I take back all I said about the NHS number in #8 above.

    Having now been able to visit the site..

    It turns out you do not need to know your NHS number or any other number. So long as you know the correct name and address for the patient, that works fine. :-)

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  • 11. At 5:45pm on 23 Jul 2009, txarlic wrote:

    Oh dear, didn't they consider that people (such as Eddie) might want to give out the link?

    Anyway, as a help, I created
    (which maps to http://www.direct.gov.uk/swineflu)

    and http://xrl.us/NHSflu
    (=> http://www.nhs.uk/AlertsEmergencies/Pages/Pandemicflualert.aspx)

    The case (upper/lower) doesn't matter, eg http://xrl.us/ukflu is the same as http://xrl.us/UKflu .

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  • 12. At 5:46pm on 23 Jul 2009, tug wrote:

    Squirrel, are we talking about the same site?


    asks me to have my NHS number ready

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  • 13. At 5:53pm on 23 Jul 2009, Squirrel wrote:

    Tug @12 -

    Yes that is the site I went to, it says:

    What you will need to use this service

    To use this service you will need the following information about the patient:

    Their date of birth
    Their current symptoms
    Their history of any serious medical conditions
    Their home address including postcode
    You will also need a pen and paper to write down information we give you.

    If you do not have all of these, please go and get them before carrying on with the service.

    At no stage does it ask me for any number (?) maybe it already knows who I am!

    You are in England..?

    I don't know why you are seeing a different site to me.

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  • 14. At 6:09pm on 23 Jul 2009, JockDahnSaarf wrote:

    Please, please, please...

    Can we hear no more about the great non-event. Flying Pig flu?


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  • 15. At 6:12pm on 23 Jul 2009, tug wrote:


    I imagine they are changing the site. When that happens there can be a time when one person sees the old site and another sees the new one.

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  • 16. At 6:17pm on 23 Jul 2009, wildbaggage wrote:

    The governments medical advisor did not seem to know why the infection rate for swine flu was so much lower in Scotland. Well the answer is obvious. The schools closed for the Summer break in Scotland much earlier than in England. Or did he just not want to say? In case people realise that closing schools would slow the spread of infection and parents keep their children at home.

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  • 17. At 6:32pm on 23 Jul 2009, packhard wrote:

    Sorry guys but the new site does ask for your health service number. Luckily I think mine is in a draw upstairs. Should I need it!

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  • 18. At 6:35pm on 23 Jul 2009, Squirrel wrote:

    " the new site does ask for your health service number "


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  • 19. At 6:37pm on 23 Jul 2009, packhard wrote:

    You will need the following information about the patient:

    Their date of birth,
    Their current symptoms,
    Their history of any serious medical conditions,
    Their health service number, or if they are a foreign visitor, their passport number or European Identity Card number
    and their postcode
    You will also need a pen and paper to write down information we give you

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  • 20. At 6:43pm on 23 Jul 2009, packhard wrote:

    I took the above directly from the currently non-operative web site at
    www.pandemicflu.direct.gov.uk Is there another site?

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  • 21. At 6:58pm on 23 Jul 2009, Squirrel wrote:

    " Is there another site? "

    Only the working version at the same url.

    I think you may have quoted from a previous version which was cached somewhere.

    The current version not only does not ask, it does not even say it will. (See #13 above)


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  • 22. At 7:05pm on 23 Jul 2009, packhard wrote:

    My sincerest apologies.
    I see that the site is now up and running and that there is no need for the health service number or any reference to foreign visitors. P

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  • 23. At 7:35pm on 23 Jul 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    For bird flu, go to the Glass Box ;o)

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  • 24. At 7:46pm on 23 Jul 2009, planomaidbrigade wrote:

    Because any disease will move faster when people are assembled together, it will be interesting to see whether or not this epidemic will escalate when school starts. Angela McCall Housecleaning

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  • 25. At 11:07pm on 23 Jul 2009, annasee wrote:

    Did they have to put the word "pandemic" into the site name? How many people know what it means, or can spell it correctly? (Excluding R4 listeners, obviously... I learnt all I know from the Today programme over the last few weeks.)

    I think they should have shortened it to "panicflu". Snappy and to the point.

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  • 26. At 11:18pm on 23 Jul 2009, RxKaren wrote:

    Annasee (25) I wasn't hopeful with the technology. It took three attempts for the DoH to send the email and letter to healthcare professionals using the CAS_Alert system. The first email referred to a letter that wasn't attached. The second email apologised for the fact that a letter was referred to in the first email that hadn't been attached but had been sent this time and again the letter wasn't attached. Third time lucky... By the time I tried to access the site to take a look at it I couldn't view it because of the volume of traffic. I wondered just how much of this was down to journalists and healthcare professionals checking the site out.

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  • 27. At 11:22pm on 23 Jul 2009, RxKaren wrote:

    I should explain - the email promised a letter explaining how the National Flu Pandemic Service would work including details of the phone number, text number and web address. I thought I was going mad when I couldn't find the attachment.

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  • 28. At 09:03am on 24 Jul 2009, annasee wrote:

    RxKaren - ha ha, why doesn't that surprise me? It sounds like the several letters we got from our local council last year about the green recycling( garden waste collection). First one saying "Here's your recycling schedule, unfortunately we can't do your garden waste collection." Even though they were already doing it. 2nd one saying "Some mistake. Sorry for any confusion etc. We are doing it" I think the third one might have had the schedule attached...

    I also wondered if the numbers using the site were all journalists or even just curious people who haven't even the hint of a sniffle.I mean, all that publicity - it's just begging the hypochondriacs among us to have a look, surely?

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  • 29. At 1:23pm on 24 Jul 2009, DI_Wyman wrote:

    What about if you think you have Bird Flu?

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  • 30. At 1:37pm on 24 Jul 2009, RxKaren wrote:

    A colleague was asking if they could set up a "man flu" line. Everytime her husband sneezes he swears he's coming down with swine flu. Her idea of the implementation plan would be to have several unsympathetic call centre staff telling callers to pull themselves together.

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  • 31. At 5:10pm on 24 Jul 2009, Anne P. wrote:

    Just decided to check on our thermometer, only to find that being digital it has died and the battery is non-replaceable. How I hate the throw-away society. What was wrong with mercury ones - ok I know some idiot was expected to eat them in which case they deserved the consequences. And now I suppose I won't be able to buy one at all.

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  • 32. At 5:17pm on 24 Jul 2009, RxKaren wrote:

    Anne P (31) They are banned. This from the NPA website.

    From the 3rd April 2009, legislation will come into force which will restrict the sale of all mercury fever thermometers. Other mercury containing measuring devices such as fertility thermometers are also affected where these are intended for sale or supply to the general public.

    The rationale behind the legislation is to protect the environment and to also protect long term public health by reducing the quantity of hazardous waste mercury in the environment.

    Members and customers who have already purchased a product are not affected and may continue to use the thermometer or measuring devices without breaking the law, however no sales can be made after 3rd April 2009 and any remaining stock must be withdrawn after that date.

    Members who hold stock of mercury fever thermometers or other mercury containing measuring devices are advised to consider stockholdings carefully and to actively sell through these products before the 3rd April 2009.

    The manufacturer of the Drug Tariff specification fertility thermometer (Zeal) will no longer supply the product after the 3rd of April 2009. They do however manufacture a mercury free alternative which is not allowed on prescription. Zeal can be contacted on 0208 542 2283 and the product code is M4751.

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  • 33. At 11:22pm on 24 Jul 2009, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Stun a stoat sideways, I should [expletive deleted] well hope that I "may continue to use the thermometer or measuring devices without breaking the law", if the choice is to go out with my swine-flu (if I had it) to a chemist and buy one that will run out of battery at me before the next time I need to use it.

    If mercury in thermometers is so doubleplus ungood, why is it being put into all the new lightbulbs? Nobody seems to be aware that when these have to be thrown away they should not be put into household rubbish and thence into the ordinary tip but instead disposed of in special bins, and there are far more new-style lightbulbs than thermometers being disposed of all the time The only place I have *ever* seen a bin for your worn-out light-bulbs so far was outside a large shop in France; are there any at any shop in England that sells lightbulbs? Supermarkets, say? Department stores?

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  • 34. At 10:53am on 26 Jul 2009, jshm222 wrote:

    Surely this is the government palming off responsibility to the NHS and the NHS trying to act like the WHO. The government should have utilised the money it has creamed off to fight non-existent "biological terrorism" to monitor every avenue for entry into Britain to curtail the flu's primary entry like China has. Instead it does what it always does; react to situations rather that working pro actively to stop them.

    The NHS can barely run hospitals, they are mostly just docs and nurses after all and they have no experience or little skill in resource management but this WHO style parachuting Tamiflu to everyone with a sniffle will backfire as resistance builds up and a black market for Tamiflu appears.

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