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November 08, 2005

Influenza pandemics: the GP's role

This is one of the most important documents I've posted here—an article in the British Medical Journal on how general practitioners should prepare for Influenza pandemics and avian flu.

It is important that general practitioners take the recent threat of a flu pandemic seriously. In the United Kingdom, the contingency plan for flu pandemic published by the Department of Health is essential reading.

The plan includes provision to strengthen healthcare capacity in primary care, but if a pandemic does occur, general practice is likely to carry the major burden of disease management in the community, and it is unrealistic to think that it will be contained in routine office hours. Pandemics causing severe illness occurred in 1919, 1957, and 1969. These pandemics undoubtedly pressurised the health services, but the country did not come to a halt.

Medical and non-medical staff in practices should meet formally to consider the implications of running the practice. These meetings should be minuted so that the practice can prepare a document outlining its contingency plans. You need to consider how to advise patients, target those at risk, cope with demand, and continue giving routine care.

Posted by dymaxion at November 8, 2005 10:37 AM

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