27/04/2006

Flu pandemic plans put to the test

The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety are to embark on a major exercise to test the Northern Ireland Pandemic Influenza plan.

The operation will be known as ‘Exercise Delilah’ and will bring together the DHSSPS, health boards and trusts and other public sector organisations which have been involved in planning for an influenza pandemic.

Speaking earlier today, DHSSPS, Senior Medical Officer, Dr Lorraine Doherty, said: “The Department has already drawn up a comprehensive pandemic influenza plan which links in with the UK’s national plan. It contains detailed actions and outlines the responsibilities for the Health and Personal, Social Services and other relevant organisations.”

Dr Doherty continued: “Exercise Delilah will explore the different phases of a possible influenza pandemic and test the current plan and our response so that in the event of a pandemic, the health service will be better able to cope under the increased pressure. Lessons are always learnt from these exercises which help us improve our plans if necessary.”

The results of the exercise will be written up into a report, which will be shared with all relevant organisations.

(EF)

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