The National Flu Service goes live today (Thursday), giving thousands of swine flu sufferers access to drugs without needing to consult a GP.
The phone and website service, which will only cover England, is the first of its kind in the world.
It has been designed to relieve pressure on the NHS and will use a checklist to diagnose cases.
Pregnant women, people with health conditions and the under-ones will still all be referred to GPs.
The Department of Health has accepted that the service could be abused by people giving the answers they believe will give them access to anti-flu drugs.
But Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson has said it is a price worth paying to help the NHS cope with its “biggest challenge in a generation”.
YourThurrock spoke to Associate Director of Infection Control, Lisa Allen about how the PCT were coping with the “crisis” and what specific advice they had for the people of Thurrock.