The Department of Health has written to healthcare professionals via the Central Alerting System (PDF) to advise that antiviral medicines may now be prescribed at NHS expense due to rising levels in reporting of influenza-like illness.
Surveillance data indicates an increase in influenza cases in the community and as such GPs and other prescribers working in primary care may now prescribe antiviral medicines for the prophylaxis and treatment of influenza. NICE has issued guidance on the treatment and prevention of influenza with antiviral medication. A treatment algorithm and dose schedules are contained in Public Health England guidance.
Clinicians should remember to endorse the prescription with 'SLS' to ensure that it can be dispensed in community pharmacies without undue delay.
Action: Clinicians should be aware of this letter and familiarise themselves with the current prescribing guidance.