Page last updated at 05:50 GMT, Tuesday, 27 April 2010 06:50 UK

Swine flu cost in Wales revealed by health minister

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A total of 28 people in Wales have died from swine flu

The cost of swine flu in Wales stands at £35m, according to official figures.

The cost to the Welsh Assembly Government is disclosed in a letter from Health Minister Edwina Hart to the finance committee.

The figure is well below a worst-case prediction of £80m, made before the outbreak's scale became clear.

But the real cost could be higher as a £60m contingency fund earmarked for a flu pandemic has been used to ease NHS pressures, including swine flu costs.

This contingency fund was put into the health service last year to cover pressures including beds and staffing, caused partly by the outbreak as well as the severe winter weather conditions.

The figures, which cover the financial year 2009-10, show that £15m was spent on vaccines.

Response costs

Another £13m was spent on planning and response costs for the health boards, while GP and pharmacy costs were £2.1m. Spending on ventilators was £1.5m and antivirals cost £1.6m.

The H1N1 virus was first reported in the UK in April last year. Latest figures show that at the end of March, the total number of swine flu-related deaths in Wales stood at 28.

A total of 449 people with laboratory-confirmed swine flu in Wales were admitted to hospital since the start of the outbreak.

An independent inquiry into the costs and handling of the outbreak in the UK is expected to report in June.

Dame Deirdre Hine, the former Chief Medical Officer for Wales, will chair the review, which has been jointly commissioned by all four UK administrations.

The review is being conducted as part of the normal procedure following a serious health event and findings will be used to inform any future planning for pandemics.

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