The possibility of a worldwide influenza pandemic presents us with unique and difficult challenges if we are to save lives and keep our society running. Planning and preparing now is vital to lessen the impact.
We will all have a part to play in dealing with a pandemic. An outbreak will place considerable pressures on a range of sectors and will require people in the public, private and voluntary sectors to work across boundaries. The wider public will also need to be made aware of how they can prepare themselves and their communities.
The Scottish Government has been working very hard to meet these challenges both across Scotland and as part of the wider UK planning. To assist and support organisations in their planning, this document sets out the Scottish Government's strategic approach to dealing with an influenza pandemic, provides information on the potential impact, sets out key planning assumptions and proposes a planning framework. It updates the UK Health Departments' UK Influenza Pandemic Contingency Plan, published in October 2005, expanding it to illustrate the breadth of planning across many different sectors.
A draft version of this document was issued for comment in March 2007 and we would like to thank all those who responded. The comments were considered carefully as part of the revision process.
We recognise the uncertainties associated with pandemic influenza are a considerable challenge to planners and require response arrangements to be flexible. We will continue to develop our understanding of the threat and will review and update the framework as further information becomes available.