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Influenza: Disease Control

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 20 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 7 January 2008, Official Report, column 48W, on influenza: disease control, if he will place in the Library copies of (a) Preparing for an Influenza Pandemic in the UK, (b) Use of Influenza Vaccines and Antivirals in the events of an Influenza Pandemic and (c) Pandemic Influenza—Infection Control Guidelines for Military Settings; what further guidance the Defence Medical Services Department plans to issue on pandemic influenza; what elements of business continuity the generic influenza exercise scenario is designed to test; whether the scenario has been used to test business continuity; and if he will make a statement. (184221)

I will place copies of the requested documents in the Library of the House. Currently the Defence Medical Service Department have no plans to issue further guidance. The Ministry of Defence follows the guidance of the Department of Health as the lead Government Department for pandemic flu planning.

On the issue of business continuity, the generic influenza exercise scenario is designed to test that business continuity plans are able to maintain (or recover) and deliver Defence critical outputs in the event of a pandemic, which may result in the long-term absence of staff. As a secondary issue, the exercise scenario helps to raise awareness among staff of the threat of a pandemic, and its associated potential impacts. The MOD used the influenza scenario to test the pan-Defence Flu Framework in March 2007. MOD top level budgets and trading funds and agencies (down to business unit level) have also been encouraged to test their own business continuity plans using the influenza scenario.