Swine Flu Debate

While recognising the seriousness of swine flu, Charles urges responsible reporting of the illness.

Mr. Charles Walker (Broxbourne) (Con): The Secretary of State is correct to say that swine flu is important and serious, but we must keep a sense of perspective, because the truth is that over the next six to 12 months many more of our constituents will develop cancer and heart disease and die from those illnesses. Will he join me in urging the media to report the illness of swine flu responsibly, thereby avoiding mass hysteria?

Andy Burnham
: It is important to acknowledge—as the hon. Gentleman did—that accurate, balanced and calm reporting of this virus is necessary. If that tone is not struck, it puts pressure on the NHS and limits its ability to cope with the daily pressures, which continue, as the hon. Gentleman rightly says. The launch of the national pandemic flu service will take pressure off the health service by creating an alternative route for access to medication, and that will go a long way to helping to relieve pressure on the front line. We all have a responsibility to face up to the challenges as they come up, to deal with them as best we can, and to explain them as calmly and concisely as we can, which will help the whole country get through this challenge.

| Hansard