December 20, 2008

Britain sees worst flu outbreak since 2000

Britain's medical system is overwhelmed by the worst flu outbreak since 2000, say doctors being swamped with emergency calls.

The system simply does not have enough capacity to cope with the pressure it is under, and we expect this to keep getting worse over Christmas, said John Heyworth, president of the College of Emergency Medicine.

Ambulance services are in short supply with patients facing long waits in emergency rooms because of a shortage of available beds, The Daily Telegraph reported Saturday.

The latest figures report 40 cases per 100,000 people -- the highest level since 2000, when flu illnesses reached epidemic proportions and crematoriums worked 24 hours a day to handle the 22,000 people who died, the Times reported.

In a statement last week, Health Secretary Alan Johnson assured the public the increase in flu cases was pressure we can cope with.