New plan for London's Pandemic Planning

New plan for London's Pandemic Planning

As organisations planning falters...

The Government Office for London's Resilience Team has just released the updated plan to detailing its plans to address the threat of Pandemic. This update follows enhanced guidance from the Department of Health and the Cabinet Office.

Whilst most of the worlds attention is focused on the Global Financial crisis, the threat of a Pandemic remains with further outbreaks occurring in China and Egypt. The situation in Egypt is being investigated as it may mark a change in the behaviour of the virus although this is not yet certain; if so it'll alarm experts as changes in the death rate have indicated an increased capability to the virus to mutate into a viable pandemic strain.

Therefore, the timing of the London Resilience Teams Pandemic Plan is opportune, acting as a reminder of a very different threat to our communities and one that carries a potential for a far greater human cost.

The latest research from the Continuity Forum shows though that the level of planning underway, and importantly completed, is falling, particularly within business. With the challenges facing the economy this is perhaps understandable to a degree, but the impact of a lack attention to the threat could well be very costly.

The facts of a pandemic affecting London are stark, with over 7.5 million at risk in the capital alone. For many in the city the threat seems far removed, even unreal and as such is generally trivialised, we often hear that folks think the threat is over-hyped and simply ignore the potential impact of a Pandemic.

In London, as the document clearly shows, this is far from the truth. To show the serious nature of the threat if we take the lowest fatality rate from the London Plan it shows over 7000 dying from the virus across the capital. This is equivalent to more than 140 7/7 terrorist attacks or 75 Hillsboro tragedies and this is just for London. If we look at the other end of the spectrum and consider the worse case scenario then the numbers are horrifying with nearly 90,000 in London and 750,000 nationally dying


This transmission electron micrograph (TEM), taken at a magnification of 108,000x, revealed the details of two avian influenza A (H5N1) virions, a type of bird flu virus, which is a subtype of avian influenza A.

At this magnification, one may note the stippled appearance of the roughened surface of the proteinaceous coat encasing each virion.

It is though important to balance these numbers against the risk in a far more impartial way. The planning aspects highlighted in the Government Office for London's plan detail much of their response and lays the groundwork for an effective response that would cut these numbers dramatically. Proactive planning from all types of organisations will enable the impacts to be reduced not just in terms of the fatalities, but also the general disruption a Pandemic would inevitably generate.

Remember, that the last century saw three flu pandemics that killed millions worldwide and hundreds of thousands in the UK. Despite medical advances, the reality is that more pandemics are a certainty. What is not known is when they will occur!

In the event of a flu pandemic, it is essential not only that London’s organisations work in a coordinated manner, but also that the public are fully supportive of what actions are being taken on their behalf. A Flu Pandemic will spread rapidly, whether or not the source of the outbreak is outside the UK, therefore it is imperative that there is close cooperation and understanding between the public, business and those organisations implementing the response plan. Information and importantly a degree of preparation is essential if the efforts to combat the virus are to be truly effective.

Therefore, organisations and businesses as well as Londoners themselves should prepare by taking time to consider the Pandemic Planning Document and assess their own arrangements (if they have any) in order to inform themselves of the consequences of a Flu pandemic and to understand how the various organisations that will counter a pandemic will be able to work with you.

As many important features of a pandemic will not become apparent until human-to-human transmission begins, it is essential that plans created by private businesses and organisations must be:

  • constructed to deal with a wide range of possibilities - Make it personal to you and your organisation's needs

  • based on an integrated multi-sector approach – look at key dependencies, who do you rely on and what plans do they have in place to support you and your organisation. Remember to consider the impact on your people and their lives. Staff absence is likely to be a significant issue

  • built on effective service and business continuity arrangements – Adopt a proper management structure to ensure your plans are realistic and appropriate, gain greater value by connecting with (or implementing) your Business Continuity Management Process

  • reviewed and updated regularly - over two thirds of plans that aren't reviewed and tested don't work!

You can download the pandemic plan form the link below and if you would like to learn more about Pandemic planning or find out about the measures you can take to improve your preparations please do use our search facility or get in touch with us directly.

For more details on our Special Pandemic Summit being held in June please follow the link from the front page.