Media Release - 7/07/09
As part of the Canterbury health sector’s response to the influenza pandemic, Tamiflu is available to the general public through Flu Centre visits or by phone contact with GPs rather than through pharmacies.
This has been done to ensure that people with flu symptoms are not going to pharmacies or General Practices to obtain the medicine but instead, staying home and telephoning the Canterbury Flu Line or their GP if they are concerned about their symptoms.
The Ministry of Health has given clear guidance about when Tamiflu can be made available by General Practitioners to their patients. In general, this only includes people considered at high risk of complications including those with respiratory or heart disease, taking medicines that suppress immunity and pregnant women. These high risk patients should phone their GPs or the Canterbury Flu Line 0800 37 30 37 if they have flu-like symptoms.
Dr Paul McCormack, deputy primary care pandemic coordinator, said, “we are working very hard in Canterbury to keep our primary health system (general practices, district nursing and pharmacies) free from influenza to ensure health services will not collapse due to staff shortages. People with influenza visiting pharmacies and General Practice waiting rooms would also put other members of the public at risk of getting the flu. ”
“Anyone who is feeling very unwell with the flu or has the flu and a health condition that could make them prone to flu complications should call the Canterbury Flu Line 0800 37 30 37. An appointment can then be made at the Flu Centre and those that need Tamiflu to reduce the impact of the disease will be given it.”