NHS boards and swine flu – the situation in England

On 2nd July the Department of Health (DH) wrote to NHS organisations setting out guidance for managing the swine flu pandemic.

Despite the fact that swine flu (H1N1) appears to be of little real threat to the majority of the population, nevertheless the demands place on the NHS by those with, or suspected to have, swine flu are likely to be immense.

The DH guidance Swine Flue Pandemic: From containment to treatment – Guidance for the NHS sets out a number of requirements for NHS boards, viz:

– each NHS Board should appoint a full time director level lead dedicated to flu preparedness and resilience with immediate effect. This can be a single individual or shared between directors but must provide visible, full-time, senior leadership and ensure a well-resourced team on this issue through the months ahead

– each NHS Board is requested to take reports on progress towards their readiness assessment against the Department’s HR and Surge guidance to their July and August meetings

– each NHS organisation takes part in the September nationally devised and SHA and HPA-organised resilience testing and exercise programmes to validate Pandemic Flu Plans and Winter Readiness Plans. Board level attendance, including from NHS CEs, is expected at these events

– each strategic health authority (SHA) Board should assess the robustness of NHS organisational and local system Flu Pandemic Plans and sign off that assurance on behalf of the Department of Health

– each PCT Board should demonstrate visible leadership through effective dialogue with local LMCs and individual practices.

Download the full DH guidance Swine Flue Pandemic: From containment to treatment – Guidance for the NHS  here.

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