The UK Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Strategy 2011, which aims to ensure that the UK continues to be one of the best-prepared countries in the world, was published today.
The updated plan has been developed following consultation with a range of health and social care professionals. It aims to create more flexibility and clearer communication between all parties involved in the Government response to a pandemic.
Secretary of State, Andrew Lansley, said: “This Strategy sets out a clear framework to help planners in the NHS and other services to make sure we respond effectively to a flu pandemic.
“Good communications, strong preparations and close working with our health and social care professionals are key to ensuring the impact on services and to the public is kept to a minimum should a pandemic occur.”
The main phases of a pandemic
For the first time, the plan sets out the main phases of a pandemic and the likely scenarios:
- low impact
- moderate impact
- high impact
In each scenario there are four clear sections:
- nature and scale of the illness – what defines the need for the pandemic to have reached this level i.e. widespread disease
- key healthcare delivery – specific actions and guidance for healthcare providers
- impact on the wider society – considerations on how this may be affecting the local community
- public messages – reassurance and specific information for the general public
The plan builds on the the 2007 national framework for responding to an influenza pandemic guidance and lessons learnt from the H1N1 (2009) influenza pandemic, and the latest scientific evidence to further strengthen the UK’s preparedness for future pandemics and plans for NHS and other services.