The UK government’s response to the swine flu pandemic
Preparing for the worst case scenario added substantially to the cost
The government’s £1.24bn (€1.5bn; $1.95bn) response to the swine flu pandemic in the United Kingdom last year was justified and “proportionate,” according to an independent review led by the former chief medical officer of Wales.1
Commissioned by the government as routine procedure to examine a major emergency response, the independent review by Deirdre Hine has laid down 28 recommendations for future planning. Her review focuses on operational issues, but much of what is said is relevant to clinical practice.
Her recommendations expose areas of weakness and a need for improvement in the UK’s strategy, but she remains fairly positive about the last government’s response.
The Taxpayers Alliance, however, say that the government’s reaction “was excessive and poorly managed.”
Vaccine policy came under particular scrutiny during the review. According to Dame Deirdre, although growing information suggested a need for fewer vaccines, the lack of a break clause to allow termination of