Despite intensive research, influenza viruses still present one of the major causes of respiratory disease throughout the world. The elderly population and those individuals considered "at risk" due to presenting co-morbidity are especially vulnerable to influenza infection; this is evident from increased rates of morbidity and mortality in these populations during winter epidemic periods. Successful vaccination campaigns have targeted these groups over the last few years, providing protection to an increasing number of susceptible individuals. However, during periods of influenza virus activity there are still seasonal pressures put on both primary and secondary health care services. In the event of a serious influenza epidemic or pandemic, these burdens could jeopardise health care provision to at risk populations. In this report we discuss current issues surrounding the impact of influenza on the health care utilisation of elderly people.