As a result of other Nations reporting higher than average flu seasons, the NHS is bracing itself for a flu epidemic amid fears that overcrowded hospitals will be unable to cope.
The head of the health service has warned that “pressures are going to be real” as he warned that influenza levels are expected to be high.
Simon Stevens said Australia and New Zealand - who are just coming out of their winter - have had a “heavy flu season” with many hospitals struggling to deal with demand.
And he said scientists would now re-examine the vaccines amid fears that the current jabs may not hold off the infections.
Health service regulators have already warned that hospitals are extremely busy, with too many beds blocked for lack of social care
“The signs from Australia and New Zealand - who are just coming out of their winter - are that it has been a heavy flu season and many of the hospitals down there have struggled to cope.
“We know that there is a great deal of work to be done over the next six to eight weeks with our partners in local authorities to put the NHS on the right footing for the winter ahead.”
Scientists in Australia have warned that the country is experiencing its worst flu season on record.
Australia has reported 98,000 confirmed cases of the flu this season - more than double the rate it was this time last year. There are also twice as many people hospitalised.
Last month Professor Paul Van Buynder from Gold Coast Health and the Immunisation Coalition said: “It looks like we will again get the greatest number of notified cases in Australia we’ve ever seen.”
“I’m confident that this is not just the biggest recorded year in our data but it’s also the largest flu outbreak that we’ve seen for quite some time,” he said.
Posted by Amanda Hopkins
Extract from www.telegraph.co.uk