After a consultation period which ran from 22 March to 17 June 2011, the Department of Health has now launched the final version of the UK Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Strategy 2011.
The plan aims to create more flexibility and clearer communication between all parties involved in the Government response to a pandemic.
The UK Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Strategy 2011 sets out the main phases of a pandemic and the likely scenarios under the following conditions:
- Low impact
- Moderate impact
- High impact.
In each scenario there a 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; and
- Public messages – reassurance and specific information for the general public.
The plan builds on the guidance from 2007 and lessons learnt from the H1N1 (2009) influenza pandemic, and the latest scientific evidence.
The document is broken down as follows:
2. The challenge of pandemic influenza
3. The strategic approach to pandemic preparedness
4. Key elements of pandemic response
5. Communication and public engagement
6. The health and social care response
7. Whole of society response
8. Further information.
Section 7 (Whole of society response) contains general business continuity information and provides details about the assumptions that organizations should make when developing pandemic preparedness strategies.
Organizations are told to consider the impacts of staff absence and the impacts of interdependencies. If organizations are planning to increase the proportions of staff that work from home as a business continuity measure they are advised to ‘discuss this with their telecommunications providers well in advance to allow them to put the necessary hardware and software in place’.
- The UK Government does not plan to close borders, stop mass gatherings or impose controls on public transport during any pandemic.
- Organizations should work on the assumption that most of their staff will not have access to vaccines.