Friday, 17 July 2009

Things can only get better 002

Following our last post things have improved further. All of yesterday’s Swine (flu) phone calls were nothing like flu. Our on call doctor noted, as we did the day before, that there was a “surge” (more on this in a later post) of calls towards the end of the working day.

Another trend we have noted is that a lot of people were ringing from work:

“I can’t come down to see you in case it is something else, I’m at WORK!”

Are people starting to take the proverbial pee? They could after all ring NHS (re)Direct but they already have and what do they get?

NHS (re)Direct is telling patients they can’t do anything (nothing new there and a huge waste of money in the process) go and see your GP. Yes we had that yesterday afternoon as well.

Of course the swine flu hysteria has become a skivers’ charter. You ring your GP and get Tamiflu and go into work with it. What happens?

The boss either sends you straight home relieved to get the evil flu away from them or your co-workers on seeing the box panic and evacuate the building (faster than if someone had chucked tear gas in) to go home and get Tamiflu for themselves after exposure to a “confirmed” case. Easy week off either way.

While doctors can often diagnose over the phone simple things our biggest concern is children.

If Shaza rings and says Tarquin has “flu” can she have some Tamiflu and omits to tell you about the rapidly spreading rash that she hasn’t noticed, due to booze and watching Home and Away while having her lunchtime 20 Rothmans, Shaza will be so forgiving when Tarquin’s meningococcal septicaemia fails to respond to your Tamiflu.

We here at ND Central are confident that Sir Liam et al will be indemnifying us especially as they don’t pay for this. Will the “I was only following Party orders” be an acceptable defence?

After all, Shaza will be upset for not telling her GP about the rash that she will do penance at her local no win, no fee solicitor. And who will lose if we follow the Party’s advice? Tarquin and you?

So kids will be coming to surgery regardless of what we are told. We suspect so will adults as telephone consultations take so much longer than face to face ones. Will the “I’m at WORK” crowd then come down? We shall see.

The “world’s best prepared country to counter flu plan” is working so well. One prescription for Tamiflu was issued yesterday and the patient’s flu “buddy” came down to collect it.

The “flu buddy” was none other than the patient themselves.

And of course we know we can be confident about our diagnoses as we are no longer able to do swabs to confirm the disease. Given that only about 1 in 4 of swabs done so far were actually positive for swine flu it is likely that a lot of anti virals will be given for something that isn’t swine flu. The more anti virals used the quicker resistance will develop. Guess work is a poor substitute for accurate laboratory diagnosis. But our odds of getting it right are higher than losing at Russian roulette.

We suspect it is only a matter of time before drug addicts realize that Tamiflu is a marketable product and start feigning “flu like” symptoms. A packet of Tamiflu with a suitably endorsed prescription to prove it is the real McCoy could provide the next few fixes for a few minutes of blagging.

Praise be to the Party and its plans. Things can only get better?

We await the "who will get the flu vaccines" announcement from yesterday afternoon's high level meeting with interest. We think the list will be Gordon, Sir Liam, Lord Mandelson, Sir Humphrey . . .

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