As a specialist healthcare communications consultant, Judy Viitanen believes that the House of Lords science and technology committee were justified in their criticism of the government for delays in setting up the national pandemic swine flu service (NPFS) and failing to test the entire UK response to a pandemic before it began. There is still clearly a lack of clarity as to how NHS intensive care facilities will cope with demand during this ongoing crisis. And the Conservatives have already voiced concerns about variations across the country in the number of antivrial collection points available.
In an incisive report into the state of the nation’s preparedness for the pandemic, the committee said: “[We have] … significant concerns about the delay in the operation of what the Department of Health describes as the enhanced national pandemic flu service and invites the government to provide a more detailed explanation of the reason. We also seek reassurance that the enhanced service will be able to meet anticipated demand and that it will be fully operational in the autumn, in good time to meet the challenges of the anticipated second wave of influenza.”