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Britons flock to GPs over swine flu

Doctors have seen a doubling in the number of people seeking consultations for swine flu in the space of just one week, it has been revealed.

An estimated 100,000 people in England sought help over the past seven days, up from 55,000 the previous week, according to the Department of Health.

There are currently around 840 people in hospital who have the virus in the country, with more than half (435) aged 16 to 64. Figures show 169 cases of swine flu involve under-fives, while overall there are 63 people in intensive care due to the disease.

The primary care trust with the highest number of GP consultations for people with flu-like illness continues to be Tower Hamlets in east London.

For every 100,000 people, the trust is seeing 792 patients worried about contacting the virus. This is followed by Islington in north London with 488 consultations per 100,000.

Other badly affected parts of England include Greenwich, south-east London, Leicester, and Telford and Wrekin.

The new data comes as a telephone service for victims of swine flu called the National Flu Pandemic Service for England is launched, capable of answering more than one million calls a week.

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Department of Health