Hospitals in the Midlands have set up assessment bays to tackle the spread of swine flu and ease the strain on A&E departments.

Visitors to A&E departments at Heartlands Hospital, Solihull Hospital and Good Hope Hospital in the West Midlands, the UK’s worst affected region, have increased by 25 per cent in recent weeks as people worry about catching the virus.

In response, the Heart of England foundation trust has decide to create an assessment area specifically for people who are worried about the symptoms of swine flu. However, the three hospitals have denied that the bays are “swine flu receptions”.

A spokeswoman said: “There are no ‘swine flu receptions’ - there are no designated receptionists - but there is a designated area where we are seeing people worried about swine flu.

“Those that come in are being assessed and the majority are the ‘worried well’ and are being turned away.”

People who are concerned about flu like symptoms are being asked to contact their GP or call NHS Direct to avoid inundating departments with visitors.

The number of cases of swine flu in the UK is nearing 3,000 and over half of these to date are in the West Midlands.