‘Flu tsar’ appointed in pandemic preparations

The government moved to appoint a new “flu tsar” in May as part of its preparations for a possible swine flu pandemic.


The appointment of NHS North East chief executive Ian Dalton as National Director for NHS Flu Resilience came amid reports that employers such as HSBC bank had registered to buy and stockpile anti-viral medication.


Healthcare firm Healthcare Connections said it had seen “unprecedented” demand, with more than 85 companies so far signing staff up for advice, including demands for medication on premises.


A study in the journal Emergency Medicine (Emerg Med J 2009; doi 10.1136/emj.2008.061499) has also urged employers not to forget the emotional toll that dealing with a pandemic could potentially take on front-line emergency staff.


It advised employers not to overlook the importance of “morale boosters” such as healthy food on tap, free coffee and snacks, free phone calls or laundry facilities.


And the Faculty of Occupational Medicine has added its weight to advice being offered to OH practitioners, publishing guidance on advance planning and reducing the risk of infection in the event of a pandemic.

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