The government should take urgent action to open more Tamiflu collection points, shadow health minister Stephen O’Brien has urged.
He highlighted the disparity in the numbers of antiviral collection points in different areas, with 47 primary care trusts having just one Tamiflu collection point, while 10 areas have more than 30 collection points each. In eight areas there appear to be no collection points at all, the Conservatives claim.
The party says there seems to be no link between either the number of people with swine flu or the population density of an area and the number of collection points.
In 10 areas of London, where swine flu has been rife, there was a single collection point available.
Mr O’Brien said: “The number of collection points available in many areas seems surprisingly low. If there are areas with too few collection points, then the government must take urgent action to open more.”
The government has asked for the locations of the collection points not to be released owing to fears that people may turn up who do not need Tamiflu.
A DH spokesperson said: “The national pandemic flu service opened last Thursday and allowed over five and a half thousand people to receive antivirals on the first day of operation.
“People in need of antivirals are able to get them quickly and conveniently and it is freeing up GPSS to look after patients in risk groups as well as those with other illnesses.
“PCTs are successfully increasing the number of antiviral collection points to meet the demands of their local population. When the NPFS opened on Thursday, there were 330 antiviral collection points, by Friday morning this had increased to 961 and yesterday this had increased further to 1,149.
“These figures show that, despite an unprecedented demand for the NPFS, the phone line and website are running well, illustrating once again how wonderfully resilient the NHS and its healthcare professionals are.”