Hospitals and GP surgeries are bracing themselves for a severe flu outbreak, the head of the NHS has warned.
Simon Stevens said that the virus had already caused huge problems in Australia with some A&E units having ‘standing room only’.
The strain of flu which is thought to be heading our way – the h3n2 strain – has been particularly severe in the elderly and children.
There are also concerns that the vaccine will prove to be ineffective as it will not match this strain.
Australia – whose winter occurs during our summer – has just experienced one of its worst flu outbreaks on record with more than 100,000 cases, two and a half times the normal number.
Hospitals have been overwhelmed and ambulance services in some areas have been told to only attend the most urgent cases.