The Department of Health is the lead department for planning for a human influenza pandemic. In the event of a health emergency such as Pandemic Flu the guidance provided by the NHS should be followed.
The Council's role during a flu pandemic will include:
- supporting the health professionals in their response to the pandemic
- maintaining our own critical services
- protecting staff from an increased risk of exposure during the performance of their roles
As described at GOV.UK:
‘Pandemic influenza emerges as a result of a new flu virus which is markedly different from recently circulating strains. Few - if any - people will have any immunity to this new virus thus allowing it to spread easily and to cause more serious illness. The conditions that allow a new virus to develop and spread continue to exist, and some features of modern society, such as air travel, could accelerate the rate of spread. Experts therefore agree that there is a high probability of a pandemic occurring, although the timing and impact are impossible to predict. The H1N1(2009) pandemic does not lessen the probability of a further pandemic in the near future, and should not be seen as representative of future pandemics.
Past pandemics have varied in scale, severity and consequence, although in general their impact has been much greater than that of even the most severe winter ‘epidemic’.
Each pandemic is different and, until the virus starts circulating, it is impossible to predict its full effects. As such, it is impossible to forecast the precise characteristics, spread and impact of a new influenza virus strain, however, based on historical information and scientific evidence we are able to predict the possible impacts.'