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NHS pressure group Health Emergency
said a number of hospitals in East Anglia were on black and red alert,
meaning the NHS was struggling to cope as the outbreak worsened.
Chairman Geoff Martin said the James Paget University Hospital in Great Yarmouth had declared a "black alert" yesterday - the most severe status level.
He added that the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital was on "red alert" - one step below black.
He said: "We warned that hospitals would be forced on to black alert as the flu cases fill the available beds - now it's happening and we do not believe that the chaos is restricted to East Anglia.
The above comments increase concerns that health care delivery in the UK is being taxed by the spike in severe H1N1 cases. The cases in East Anglia and the Greater Manchester area suggest that the H1N1 will soon significantly impact London, where reports cite a 25% occupancy rate of severe H1N1 cases in ICU beds. Moreover, these high levels may be blunted by GP offices closed over the holiday week, and a re-opening of those offices coupled with a return to school may create additional problems next week, including a shortage of ECMO machines.
The number of severe cases has increased from 460 to 738, suggesting triple digits next week, compared to a peak of 180 last season.
The current crisis is exacerbated by a rising number of Tamiflu resistant cases, as well as shortages of anti-virals and vaccines.
The deteriorating situation may lead to more aggressive measures in the upcoming days.