The antiviral drug Tamiflu has been made available from hundreds of collection points as swine flu continues to spread throughout the UK.

People who are diagnosed with the virus receive a number code that can be used by a designated “flu friend” of the sufferer to pick up the drug.

Flu friends will need a form of identification from the patient to collect the Tamiflu and can pick up the drug from Lloyds Pharmacy, Asda Pharmacy, Boots hospitals and NHS walk in centres.

An online and telephone based service has been set up by the government to relieve the burden on GPs who have been overwhelmed by the number of patients displaying symptoms of the H1N1 virus.

The national flu pandemic service for England is being staffed by more than 1,500 call centre staff with the option of recruiting 500 more. The service should have the ability to answer more than 200,000 calls a day - more than a million calls a week.