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Volume 494: debated on Thursday 18 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance his Department has issued on the provision to local authorities of influenza pandemic preparedness plans produced by (a) primary care trusts, (b) hospital trusts, (c) health protection units and (d) local resilience forums; and what guidance has been issued on co-operation between health authorities and local authorities on (i) overview and (ii) scrutiny of such plans. (280039)

All departmental guidance, whether produced primarily for the health or social care sector, emphasises the need for multi-agency planning and response.

Local Resilience Forums (LRFs) and Influenza Planning Committees (IPCs) are multi-agency groups, with representatives from primary care trusts (PCTs), local authorities (human resources, emergency planners, adult and children’s social care leads, coroners), acute hospital trusts, health protection units, independent and third sector providers, and the police. Multi-agency Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs), chaired by a chief executive, may also approve final pandemic flu plans.

PCTs have lead responsibility for pandemic planning and response locally. It is the role of the PCT to consult with its partner local authority and to share plans. Some local authority social care departments have a joint pandemic flu plan with their local PCT.

The Department has produced guidance for PCTs stating the duty on national health service organisations to consult local overview and scrutiny committees if they are considering substantial variations in local health services. However, it is for individual local authorities to present such plans to relevant overview and scrutiny committees.

The Department has also produced comprehensive guidance for social care commissioners and providers and these also emphasise the importance of joint working. Copies of the guidance, which consists of nine modules (eight of which have been published) have been placed in the Library.