NHS is urged to be ‘prepared’

Despite the Pandemic Risk Index at risk of being downgraded to “exercise caution” from “exercise an abundance of caution”, the NHS has been urged to take more precautionary measures on ballots this November. The…

NHS is urged to be 'prepared'

Despite the Pandemic Risk Index at risk of being downgraded to “exercise caution” from “exercise an abundance of caution”, the NHS has been urged to take more precautionary measures on ballots this November. The department of health has already revised individual doctors’ prescriptions to include the wording “contain or expel”, after reducing the index to “control” in April.

Health Secretary Alan Johnson, a former GP, said at the time that the Credentialing Scheme of Medicine was acting as a “reactive” approach to infection, rather than a “proactive” one. But to be a pandemic survivor means “moving through your life in a way that you find it hard to imagine being affected by a pandemic”, added William Mead, professor of pandemic preparedness at Imperial College London.

However, both departments involved in the Classification and Identification of Influenza Infections (CII) under NHS England have adopted an “active” approach to pandemic planning, a department spokeswoman said. Last month, politicians on the Health Select Committee queried whether it was irresponsible to allow doctors to prescribe the whole range of Tamiflu drugs in November, stating that it could lead to panic and “greater suffering”. But the department said that as the health minister, Mr Johnson is responsible for deciding when to proceed with an exercise in pandemic preparedness and added that he would always consider whether taking more “imprecise” steps could undermine public confidence.

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