NHS well prepared for pandemic flu

The World Health Organization has today confirmed that Swine Flu is now classed as an influenza pandemic – the first since 1968.

A pandemic means that swine flu is confirmed as being transmitted in two or more regions of the world. Dr John Battersby, Director of Public Health for NHS Norfolk, said: “The key message is that this new WHO level represents a change in the global picture around this outbreak.

“We still have only had one case of Swine Flu in Norfolk. Therefore, this escalation will have very little effect locally on our day to day business around swine flu.

“Any escalation in services and local activity is more likely to be triggered by a rise in the numbers of cases, and the move out of the ‘containment’ phase.

“NHS Norfolk has been working closely with its partner agencies – and will continue to do so – to achieve an effective and proportionate response during this containment phase of the outbreak, while also making preparations in readiness for this transition into the mitigation phase.”

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “The localised cases of swine flu found in the UK have, in the majority of cases, not been severe and we have not seen evidence of widespread community transmission.

“We are continuing to work to slow the spread of the disease and to put in place arrangements to ensure that the UK is well-placed to deal with this new infection. But we must not be complacent – it is right to prepare for the possibility of a global pandemic.

“Clearly, the WHO declaring an official pandemic is a serious development. However, the WHO alert levels reflect the global view, and any action taken in the UK would be based on the situation here. We are monitoring the situation constantly and if anything changes we will react accordingly.”

Thursday 11th of June 2009 05:00:30 PM