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Emergency exercise for pandemic flu

18 November 2019

A person wearing hospital scrubs with a stethoscope

Health experts, emergency planners and emergency services are due to take part in a planned exercise looking at Jersey’s and Guernsey’s preparedness in dealing with a flu pandemic.

Two table-top exercises are due to take place – one in Jersey and the other in Guernsey to test the updated joint Channel Islands Pandemic Flu Strategic Plan.

Both will be attended by two UK colleagues who are Dr Chloe Selwood, the National Lead for Pandemic Influenza for NHS England and NHS Improvement, and Jon Malley, Emergency Preparedness Resilience and Response Manager for NHS England and NHS Improvement (south east) who will act as facilitators for the events

A table-top exercise is a discussion-based session when an emergency is simulated, and agencies work through planned responses to the situation as it unfolds. The aim of the exercise is to identify if things need to be done differently should the emergency arise in the future.

Pandemic flu is the worldwide spread of a new flu virus for which there is no immediate vaccine available. In addition to testing each island’s preparedness, the aim of the exercises are to test arrangements for joint working between Jersey’s and Guernsey’s health services, the islands’ local resilience forums and partner agencies.

Jersey’s exercise is due to take place on Wednesday 20 November at the Town Hall and Guernsey’s will be held on Tuesday 19 November.

Dr Ivan Muscat, Consultant Microbiologist / Communicable Disease Control, said: "a flu pandemic could occur at any time so it’s only right therefore that we test our proactive arrangements for dealing with one. Health authorities in the NHS do the same.

"We’ve had a preparedness plan in place for many years. In fact, in 2009, our plan was tested for real when there was a flu pandemic. Since then, we’ve met annually to consider whether anything in our pandemic flu plan needs changing. This year, our colleagues in Guernsey and ourselves updated our pandemic flu preparedness plan and now we’re coming together via two table-top exercises to test it.

"We anticipate there will be lessons to learn across both islands and afterwards we will work with Guernsey colleagues to write these into our plan."

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