Swine Flu and Flu Friends by eP7nKyhb


									                              Swine Flu and Flu Friends
                                   VCFS Briefing
                                  (17th July 2009)

As some will know, I've been working with the PCT as part of the planning for a
potential increase in the number of Swine Flu cases in Leeds.

As you might expect the planning has to be based on realistic, but worse case

Key Actions
As part of this process I was asked to identify actions under two key areas:

  1. what can the system do to assist the VCFS to get appropriately involved in
     tackling the pandemic

  2. what can the VCFS do to assist in tackling the pandemic

The actions are outlined below:

  1. What could the system do?

        a. Provide proposals to the VCFS about what activities the system wants
           the VCFS to undertake, to date there have been two requests:

              i. 'Flu friends’ (FF)

                The PCT is working to identify 8 to 10 organisations who could play
                a Flu Friends role, a Flu Friend being someone who would pickup
                antivirals from a distribution centre on behalf of a person who has
                flu (as its in no-one interest for them to attend themselves), the
                expectation is that most people will have a 'flu friend' but this is for
                those who don't. The organisations likely to be approached will
                be larger projects due to the likelihood that they have more of a
                staff bank which volunteers could be pulled from.

                The PCT are also providing briefing sessions about Swine Flu and
                the role of flu friends - mainly aimed at those who work with
                communities or with volunteers as it is likely that, due to
                established relationships, organisations may receive independent
            requests (rather than through the system) to be a flu friend

         ii. 'Volunteer Support'
             It is possible that Leeds PCT may need additional volunteers to
             help cope with the predicted demand for treatment and
             therefore may call on the VCFS to investigate the feasibility of
             VCFS staff helping out in the treatment collection points (known
             as ACPs). There are certain roles which the VCFS maybe able to
             fulfill should the need arise.

    b. To identity 'non essential' services provided by the VCFS and to discuss
       whether staffing resources could be re-allocated.

    c. Look at PPE (personal protective equipment) allocation to VCFS orgs
       and volunteers involved in providing relevant services.

    d. To use VCFS orgs as engagement structures for disseminating
       information to vulnerable groups and communities

    e. Look at contract and grant arrangements and whether changes need
       to be made to outputs etc. to allow for engagement in this activity.

2. What could the VCFS do

    a. Work seriously to meet the proposal requests

    b. Raise awareness within the VCFS and communities we work with about
       the potential impact of Swine Flu and 'dispelling myths'

    c. Discuss potentially suspending activities (where relevant) so staffing
       resources can be redirected.

    d. Consider Business Continuity Issues based on current advice (see
       appendix i - attached)

    e. Push forward 'flu friends' as a matter of urgency

    f. Carry out staffing audits (wherever relevant) to identify staff who could
       be reassigned to partners on a temporary basis.
Immediate actions / proposals

  1. Consider the feasibility of your organisation being a FF provider for the PCT.
     If you feel your organisation would be able to provide this function contact
     Rachel Dukes ASAP 0113 305 9836

  2. Consider Business Continuity Issues (appendix i)

  3. To get involved in flu friend briefings.

  4. Contact Rachel if you have staff who are interested in helping out ASAP to
     go onto a central list.

Further information
Please bear in mind that as the situation is updated so is advice. Please check the
Leeds PCT Swine Flu pages for the most up to date information.

As regards the above, I can provide some information but Rachel Dukes from the
pct, (Tel: 0113 305 9836, email: rachel.dukes@nhsleeds.nhs.uk is leading on this
area of work.

Produced by
Richard Jackson
Chair - Leeds Infrastructure Consortium
                                                                            (appendix i)

                                  Swine Flu
               Business Continuity Considerations for the VCFS

As you will be aware, the numbers of people in Leeds with Swine Flu is increasing,
however the number of people who will fall ill at anytime is difficult to predict.
Many factors affect the rate of spread of the infection, including local
circumstances, personal attitudes and behaviour. Also, the characteristics of the
virus, its severity and ease of transmission, may change. Although exact
predictions are not available, for planning purposes it is prudent to consider how
you would respond to absences of 25 to 30 per cent lasting some seven weeks. It
is possible that these figures could be higher.

To reduce the impact of these potential problems, VCFS organisations need to
ensure (if not already done so) that they have:

   identified critical activities that must be maintained and, by implication,
    what work could be deferred if the need arose
   identified the resources needed to deliver these critical activities, particularly
   where necessary discuss the potential implications with funders to ensure
    any effect on performance that could effect contracts/grants have already
    been agreed
   considered both the number of staff they will need and which specialist skills,
    knowledge or authority those staff will require in the event they will need to
    deputise or stand in for others at short notice
   put in place arrangements so changes in work priorities can be
    implemented and resources realigned, in order to maintain critical activities
   put in place arrangements to maintain good communications with staff,
    users, suppliers etc.

Staff - absences
One of the most important impacts of the influenza pandemic is likely to be staff

Your staff could be:
   ill with flu, or ill for other reasons (normal sickness levels)
   caring for others who are ill, or caring for children if their school is closed
   delayed due to transport and other possible difficulties
   responding to a request to be a 'flu friend'
   absent due to other reasons, e.g. fear or avoidance of infection
Staff who have flu-like symptoms should stay at home and contact their GP or
NHSDirect. To avoid spreading the illness amongst other staff, they should not
return to work until they are clear of symptoms for 48 hours.

Your Partners
VCFS orgs should consider the effect of staff absences on partners on which they
depend. Staff absences may affect the services that VCFS orgs are able to

Additional Information
You can find advice on swine flu on:

Suggested ways forward

  1. You may wish to hold a meeting to plan how you would manage the effects
     of pandemic flu on your organisation/group.
  2. Contact your funders and start a dialogue about potential changes you
     may need to make to contracted services in the event of staff illness.
  3. Identify communities and individuals you work with who may need a Flu
  4. Encourage relevant staff to attend a Flu Friends briefing run by the PCT.
  5. Identify volunteers who could assist other projects if needed.

If help with planning is required then please contact Voluntary Action-
    Leeds who will work with partners to provide support where ever
                         possible - 0113 297 7920

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