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Pandemic Flu Service to close down

The National Pandemic Flu Service (NPFS) is to close following a "steady reduction" in the number of swine flu cases.

The hotline and website will be turned off on February 11.

The decision follows a decline in the number of new cases of swine flu, with the majority who have contracted the virus suffering relatively mild symptoms.

However, Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, has warned against becoming complacent.

Health Minister, Gillian Merron, said the NPFS could be re-activated in seven days should it be needed.

People who suspect they have swine flu will be directed to their GP instead of the antiviral collection points from next week, she added.

In a written ministerial statement to MPs, Ms Merron said: "We have asked GPs to make further contact with people in the priority groups who are at higher risk from the disease and who have not yet had the vaccine."

Ms Merron said GPs and primary care trusts (PCTs) were now able to manage the swine flu caseload themselves and the decision to close down the service was taken with the "full support" of the professional bodies.

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National Pandemic Flu Service