Thursday, January 22, 2009

Scarey stuff

Pandemic flu planning.

I'm in charge for my practice. I was quite relaxed until I started reading the official planning docs. Don't mean to worry you but thought you might be interested in some official figures. These are being used as a basis for planning and for once planning is on the basis of a worst-case scenario. But that shouldn't reassure you. That ranges are actually not that broad.

When it comes (as it inevitably will, we just don't know when) 50% of population is likely to get it (either in one or more than one waves, each wave lasting 8-15 weeks, with first wave peaking 50 days after the virus arrives in the UK, which in turn will be about 4 weeks after it erupts wherever). That's 30 million people.

25% will get complications. 7.5 million people.

4-5% will need hospitalising. 1.2 million people if its 4%. The UK has about 390 beds per 100k population, so about 234k beds.

1-1.5% will need intensive care. 300k. There are only 3500 ITU or high dependency beds in the UK including the specialist beds in cardiothoracic centres, trauma beds and the like. There a re a small number of paediatric ITU beds in addition to that.

2.5% potential mortality. That is three quarters of a million people.

Staff absence at any time (including health workers) expected to run at 25% (closer to 35% for smaller businesses) so fewer nurses/medics, tanker drivers, electricity engineers etc. Schools will be closed reducing the number of people able to work further. Of course, some people will not go to work to try and avoid exposing their families, which will make matters even worse.

Lets hope it doesn't come till the next century.

On a happier note, Panama by Van Halen is currently playing on Planet Rock...

6 comments:

nigelthomas said...

Great article, and some very interesting statistics. If the outlook for UK is like this imagine what it's like for the densely populated 3rd world countries.

We need to keep pandemic preparedness at the forefront of every business manager's mind. It won't go away so better start preparing.

For free references, resources and to join their free pandemic preparedness email eCourse program, go to Bird Flu Manual Online or, if you need more comprehensive tutorials, tools and templates, consider Bird Flu D-I-Y eManual for your pandemic preparedness.

Dr Grumble said...

UK hospitals will never be able to cope. Other countries may have a better chance.

Britain has 389 hospital beds per 100,000 people, Germany has 829, the Czech Republic has 817, Lithuania has 801 and Hungary has 792.

Bed cuts have gone too far but nobody will listen until it is too late.

Simon said...

Music at work! Stop enjoying yourself and I hope you have a PRS certificate!

Anonymous said...

Don't panic, it will all be OK. The PCT are allocating us £2000 to spend on equipment. We can buy some face-masks to give the illusion of a safe environment (they don't stop the virus) and a few doses of antivirals (to help us recover 12 hours quicker and get back to work). There should be a bit left over to buy some batteries and biscuits, to see us through when the shops have been looted. GP near you :)

sue said...

i wish nulabour would get flu, then maybe we can be left in peace.

Dragonfly said...

And yet many health care workers (many of whom will be exposed in the case of a pandemic) still refuse their fluvaxes on the basis of "I don't like needles". Sigh.