The NHS is being forced to cut services because of the huge costs of the swine flu scare that proved unfounded.
A survey has found that as many as one in six health trusts may have to slash services - or already have done so - to recoup costs.
The cuts required to pay for swine flu preparations are on top of the cuts needed after the election as the NHS adjusts to a post-credit crunch world.
And, for the first time, it has emerged that the average cost of the swine flu scare to primary care trusts was £340,000 - enough to pay the salaries of 17 nurses.
The huge amounts were spent on setting up antiviral collection points, storing and distributing vaccines, staff vaccination sessions and advertising to encourage people to have the jab...
At the height of the scare, the chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, said as many as 65,000 people could die from the disease. In fact, the toll has been less than 500 - a fraction of the number who died from ordinary flu...
Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chairman of the British Medical Association's GP Committee, said individual trusts should not have had to foot the bill.'I think a pandemic should be seen as an exceptional circumstance and a PCT should be fully supported by central government,' he said.