The UK’s Department of Health has recently published two influenza-related publications for the current European influenza season. These plans have been published in addition to the new UK Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Strategy, about which ECDC published a Public Health Development on the 15th November 2011.
In brief, these plans are the Seasonal Flu Plan Winter 2011/2012, a report from the Statistical Legacy Group as part of the Influenza Pandemic Preparedness programme and the public interactive application Winterwatch.
Seasonal Flu Plan Winter 2011/2012
The purpose of this Seasonal flu plan is to set out a coordinated and evidence-based approach to planning for and responding to the demands of seasonal flu across England. It takes account of the experiences and lessons learnt during the 2010/11 influenza season. It is intended to assist in the development of robust and flexible operational plans by local organisations and emergency planners within the UK’s National Health System (NHS) and across other sectors in England. It will provide the public and healthcare professionals with an overview of the coordination of the preparation for seasonal influenza and signposts as to where further guidance and information can be found. The UK emphasised that this plan is not intended to be a comprehensive or exhaustive guidance, or to take precedence over other standard operating procedures, and it will be kept under review and updated as necessary.
This is a publicly available interactive tool that produces regular updates from the Department of Health in London about how the NHS in England is coping with the increased demands on its services in the cold winter months. The aim of this tool is also to raise awareness of the risks of cold weather as well as to bring to the public practical advice on keeping well when the weather is very cold, by means of publishing regularly updated links to key winter health data and statistics throughout the winter months in the UK.