Birmingham’s swine flu lessons under the microscope

Lessons learnt by Birmingham City Council since the start of the swine flu pandemic will come under the spotlight during a major emergency planning event next week.

Jim McManus, Joint Director of Public Health for the council, will talk about how the issue has been tackled in city schools as part of the LGA Annual Emergency Planning Conference 2010.

During the event, being staged at Stratford-upon-Avon on January 11, he will cover Birmingham being an early “hot spot” and how Birmingham plans to be at the forefront of tackling any future waves of the illness.

Jim said: “The second wave of swine flu has had little impact on council services, and after reviewing response arrangements, the council has decided to scale down some of its response arrangements, including the city-wide group of response managers.
 
“This is a good sign that we have managed the second wave well and the impact of it on our services has been minimal.

“But flu pandemics usually come in three waves, the second and third being worse than the first.

“The second wave in Birmingham actually hasn’t been as bad as the first or as bad as we expected, but we will make sure we are ready for a third wave when and if it happens.”

Some essential monitoring and other work will continue. The availability of vaccinations for priority staff, ensuring vulnerable service users get the vaccine and monitoring of sickness absence within the council is ongoing. Close examination of the impact on schools and social care services will also carry on.

Additionally, the city council’s participation in multi-agency planning, and the training and exercising of social care staff for a third wave is ongoing.
 
Steve Grogan, Head of the Birmingham Resilience Team added: “The city has a track record of learning lessons from incidents or emergencies, and this has paid off in our response to swine flu so far – the work done in Birmingham has been taken up by many other areas.”

ENDS

For further information contact Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621

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