Swine Flu on Christmas Eve

I have, since swine flu first appeared last April, been highly critical of the government's preparations and plans for dealing with the pandemic. If you are unaware of my regular posting on the subject, click HERE to read the link to them.

So now having had to phone the pandemic flu line for my son who, on Christmas Eve, late in the evening, appears to have all the symptoms of swine flu (many thanks to the parent who sent their child to nursery with flu and gave it to my son), I am aware even more of the inadequacy of the service.

Phoning the main pandemic flu number involved listening to about 10 minutes of chatter and advice which was all very obvious before then being given another number to ring. Then I rang the other number (0800 1513100), only to be put through to a person, who never actually picked the call up. After having the phone ring off dead twice when they were "connecting me", I eventually went through the internet method of registering for Tamiflu. Now we have to wait 12 hours for a place in Norwich to open so we can get his Tamiflu.

I know it is Christmas Eve and we should make allowances. But for the national phone helpline to simply fail to connect callers and leave them with a dead phone line really is taking the mickey, especially when you are trying to deal with an asthmatic two year old who is running a temperature of 38.7c and is throwing up and coughing.

Of course, I hear you say, "But if he is a two year old with Asthma, he will have been entitled to a vaccine". The answer to that is no, he isn't. Because he takes a non steroid based inhaler, the government deem his asthma not to be asthma, so he does not get a jab. There must be tens of thousands of at risk patients across the UK who fall in to this boat who cannot receive a jab either because of very odd government rules.

Now I must get back to my son.

Merry Christmas to you all, accept for the health minister who set the rules that mean my son who is a high risk patient did not get a jab because of spurious and illogical rules. I hope the minister personally has a rotten Christmas and that he/she loses her seat in the new year.


James Higham said...

You're right about the insane rules but the jab is not all they claim it seems, Nich.

Merry Christmas anyway to all your family.

Norfolk Blogger said...


The Raven said...

Darn it. Hope he'll feel better soon, and that you'll still manage to have a good Christmas.

Umair said...

well hope you son gets well soon, and your point is correct regarding the high risk patients..

Anonymous said...

I took my son to the hospital as I had enough of the rubbish pandemic line turns out wasn't swine flu but Igbo had of followed there online diagnosis he would of had tamiflu what a rubbish service

Johnny Norfolk said...

At the end of the day your are on your own to look after your son. just phone your own GP and go from there. I hope he will soon be ok lots of liquids is the best advice do not let him dehydrate.

Happy Christmas if you can make the best of it. Boots the Chemist in Dereham is open Boxing day 10-4 if you need anything including advice from the pharmacist.

English Pensioner said...

I wish your son well. We have spent a couple of weeks caring for our 11 month grandson as he and his parents all went down with some form of flu and simply could not cope. It was exhausting work!. Plenty of fluids, nothing else matters much! And there must be plenty of spare vaccine around, most of the pensioners around this area seem to be turning down the opportunity to have it, including myself.

Norfolk Blogger said...

He's gone through 60 hours of it now and does seem to have the milder form. The temperature is under control, he is drinking, but still has no hunger, which is very very odd for him as he will rgave all day when well.

Thanks for all your comments.

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Caron said...

You shouldn't have to make allowances because it's Christmas Eve. This is a vital service that shouldn't ever muck up.

In terms of the vaccine, I'm hearing of too many people who've had it and caught swine flu anyway, but it seems odd that if your son has a known respiratory problem that he isn't being vaccinated. In Scotland, all 1-5 are being offered the jab. Is that not the same in England?

It looks like your wee one is over the worst, thankfully. I really feel for you all. It's horrible any time to have a sick child, but more so at Christmas when everything's shut down and it's so much more difficult to get drugs etc.

Up here, we don't have a separate swine flu advice service. People just ring NHS 24 which I had my doubts about initially but actually I think it's much more sensible and practical.

I hope your son gets well soon and that you and your wife don't get it.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Caron, the vaccination program is all over the place. Some areas are doing under 5s, in some areas they still have not finished the "at risk" groups, and that does not even cover the fact that at risk patients, like my son, who take the "wrong type of inhaler", and are not deemed to be asthmatic, even though they are asthmatic, are not getting the jab.

IN truth, the vaccination program and the government response has been very poor but they have got away with it because swine flu has been so mild.

As for the effectiveness of the jab, it may well be that you get a swine flu jab but then get seasonal flu. And this further highlights the stupidy of the system. Under 5s will be offered (eventually) a swine flu jab BUT they will not get a seasonal flu jab ! Why ? No reason.

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