Monday, 20 July 2009

The NHS Flu Pandemic Plan vs reality 003 May the Surge be with you

We here at ND Central may had been a little critical about local arrangements for the Swine Flu Pandemic so we thought we ought to look at those in charge’s perception of the “crisis”. We are, as is the whole country, in the hands of the legions of faceless mandarins who for years, possibly since 1919 but, unlikely, as they don’t have that many fingers to count with, have “planned” for the flu pandemic in the background with no thanks what so ever for doing nothing.

We have posted on the results of this foresight and ever wise planning but thought we would, for balance, consult their views on how Northernshire, sorry the whole NHS is prepared, for the impending Swine Flu problem.

We therefore consulted the Comic, aka the Health Services Journal, and attach a few links for you to realize how Swine Flu is just about imposing on their ever busy existence and how well they are coping.

It would appear that PCTs’ swine flu pans are being tested by real life. A real shock to your average NHS manager as that might mean that a real person, or a patient, a totally alien concept to them, is ill (and importantly costs money).

We particularly liked the comment of a certain Professor towards the end of the article:

Where flu starts to hit one particular area it is important PCT chief executives are visible to GPs.”

Why? What good will they do? They won’t see or treat a single patient. Unless he means visible in the crosshairs to GPs . . . ?

In the 10+ years we have worked in Northernshie we have only ever seen a Chief exec once and could not understand a word they said.

We are also relieved that a national director for “social care flu resilence” has been appointed.

We here at ND Central have been losing sleep over this gap in our "advanced" flu planning. Thank goodness the all wise managers have created such a post. We can now sleep soundly in our beds knowning that there is a national director for social care flu resilience - what ever that is? It will no doubt make our jobs so much easier.

Lots and lots of tough words from the flu czar here.

He wants PCTs to review their “surge" plans. Don’t know what these are but we bet it won’t be anything like the American surge in Iraq but we know where the word was copied from. Perhaps it is how quickly a PCT can evacuate its headquarters when large public gatherings are banned if real flu takes a hold with the exceptions of GP surgeries and hospitals which will have to remain open regardless?

“PCTs must “give a very high priority” to making sure GPs have the capacity to look after all patients, regardless of how widely the disease spreads”, he said (as all GPs and Hospital doctors and nurses will be spared the flu).

Think he might find that virtually impossible as they can’t even look after all patients in the absence of a flu pandemic so another highly paid NHS commissar living in Never Never Land with Micheal J and getting paid to do so. But isn’t Michael now brain dead?

Hospitals will be expected to make sure they can “surge” their critical care capacity for several months if necessary. And human resources advice produced by NHS Employers recommends skills audits and plans to redeploy staff to areas of need.

The “surge” word again obviously a popular word for managers at present. We have already mentioned one plan that is probably in place to redeploy staff to areas of need (their homes) but a skills audit? Can you see Chief Executives asking their HR departments “how many GPs do we actually have?” for the first time ever?

Asked whether discussions were taking place over how the system might respond to financial pressures such as a “surge” (it is there again) in accident and emergency admissions, Mr Dalton said: “Our job is to ensure any impact is managed properly.”

More “surging” or managers coming our way?

Interesting how the system might respond when it has already 100% bed occupancy and struggles to cope with the current state of play so if there is a nasty flu pandemic we will be pleased that the shortage of resources already in place will be “managed properly” when the brown stuff hits the fan.

He also said the Department of Health is still planning to launch its national flu line in October. Really? Looks like that has been “surged” forward a bit something we are sure was foreseen in all of those advanced flu plans.

Listen up the flu is here now, the Chief Medical Officer has said 100,000 cases per day in August and you were planning to respond in October but now it is in 3 days time?

Surely no panic here as it was all in the plan? Can we have your job? Sitting on your hands and being paid big bucks we like that idea of work. Try dealing with the "surge" in phone calls your advice to patients has generated in the real world to pander to the pathetic.

There is also an article about GPs getting unclear advice on dealing with swine flu.

Surely not? Just look at our previous posts to see what is happening in one of the top World Class Commissioning PCTs to see that this is not happening.

A few intersting comments at the bottom. So we at ND Central are not alone?

And finally a little piece about what might happen to NHS managers if their flu plans don’t succeed.

Some PCTs will get it right, others will be lucky. Those who get it wrong and are unlucky will be exposed to the full force of public anger. The exemplary performance of the best PCTs will be used as a stick with which to beat the worst.

Local managers should be in no doubt about what they will endure if they fail. After five years of preparation, millions of pounds of investment, months of warning over swine flu and endless declarations that the country is ready, the public and local and national media will lynch you

So if your PCT has a higher death rate due to your flu plan the public will lynch you as they did in Staffordshire? Looks like a lot of NHS managers will be getting some hefty promotions if a flu pandemic strikes. How many more NHS Chief Executives can the country afford to fund to reward high flu death rates?

Praise be to the Party and all its wise managers and their flu plans.

What would we do without all of their work?


Perhaps? On our own, as always?

No comments: