Standing Committee on Pandemic Preparedness minutes: 7 July 2022

Minutes of the meeting of the group on 7 July 2022.

Attendees and apologies


  • Professor Andrew Morris 


  • Professor Linda Bauld
  • Dr Ian Campbell
  • Professor Dame Anna Dominiczak
  • Professor Tom Evans
  • Professor Julie Fitzpatrick
  • Dr Graham Foster
  • Dr Audrey MacDougall
  • Professor Massimo Palmarini
  • Professor Nick Phin
  • Professor Stephen Reicher
  • Professor Aziz Sheikh
  • Professor Devi Sridhar
  • Professor Nicola Steedman
  • Professor Emma Thomson
  • Professor Mark Woolhouse


  • Gill Hawkins
  • redacted S.38 (1)(b)
  • Arlene Reynolds


  •  redacted S.38 (1)(b)

Items and actions


The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and noted the benefit of a virtual meeting given current range of geographical locations. The chair also welcomed the new Chief Scientist Health, Professor Dame Anna Dominiczak, to the group and looked forward to her involvement with the Committee.

Draft interim report

The Chair set out the proposed timetable for finalising the interim report and submission to First Minister, including consultation with the International Reference Group and subsequent wider engagement with interested stakeholders in Scotland and UK and international bodies to ensure that the Committee hear a range of views on the issues to be dealt with in their Final Report. 

Action: secretariat to make arrangements for a meeting with the International Reference Group and further virtual meetings to engage internationally and across the UK as well as within Scotland. This will allow the group to tap into wider networks, ensure key parties in Scotland are engaged in the Committee’s work, hear from key institutions furth of Scotland, and understand wider perspectives on similar discussions happening elsewhere.

The chair noted that the aim of the meeting was to set the shape and tone of the interim report. The Committee would hear from each of the working groups about the issues they had identified and have an opportunity to comment on those and other issues.

The chair noted that there were three big ticket items arising from the recommendations which might provide a structure for the Committee’s work going forward:

  • establishing a ‘triple-helix’ pandemic preparedness centre to coordinate future work, bringing together academia, industry and the NHS and PHS
  • ensuring that Scottish Government have the correct and clear access to the necessary scientific advice and
  • putting in place the right data infrastructures and processes to enable fast, flexible and effective and granular surveillance of potential threats and any future pandemic

The group discussed and commented on report, noting:

  • some recommendations are able to be incorporated into one bigger recommendation - with the creation the centre at the top of the list
  • resilience and structures should be built into everyday working which can be scaled up when required
  • the report must be specific to Scotland and the opportunities and threats we face – avoid becoming similar to the many pandemic preparedness reports that are out there
  • data systems should be created which can be used in day-to-day working with the capacity for additional input available when required
  • report should acknowledge Health and Social Care pressures
  • data is important but there should be more on labs and virologists, building on having the largest virologist centre in UK - a case study should be prepared for this
  • Scotland should be on front foot with the report and reach out – may not be reliant on UK structures but should engage with them
  • some gaps which need addressed in drafting on e.g. epidemiology, modelling, clinical trials, patient care and mental health
  • needs to be clearer on capacity and capability in science expertise, ownership of what we can do in Scotland and what we need from UK and internationals

There was a short discussion about the availability of testing data and the need for a sustainable model, which might be adapted for future pandemics.

Action:  The Chair will discuss with Professor Sheikh drafting a note on data and testing which might inform CMO’s consideration of the way forward on these issues. 

Update from working groups

Behavioural interventions and community engagement 

Recommendations may be less specific than others, however given the area that’s appropriate for the interim report. Acknowledge the wide ranging impacts on economy, mental health and other aspects but not within our role to solve everything. Looking ahead, group will engage with colleagues to develop interim conclusions into a more specific form for the final report. 

Zoonoses and surveillance

Case study from CVR to be included in next draft, some issues including information governance have dropped out of latest iteration and need to be added back in. Scotland’s expertise in Zoonoses should be better reflected in recommendations. An interlinked database of information on infectious diseases where interested parties can see incidents and share data across lab networks would be valuable - DEFRA surveillance group worth touching base with.

Governance and international engagement 

Important to identify key partners on global stage - SG needed to be open to taking in advice and open to organisational improvement in terms of who’s responsible for responding to advice - the ScotScience network in SG should help.

Diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics 

Data information flows similar to other groups and possibility of overlap. Having consistency across different health boards for information gathering systems is a small scale recommendations with big impact. Need to mention Scotland’s role in clinical trials and access to WHO and rapid information transfers. 

Discussion and next steps

The group discussed the next steps in the timeline and upcoming deadlines for final comments. The chair reiterated the main points from the earlier discussion. 

Action: The Chair welcomed the comments on the draft interim report and asked Committee members to submit written comments on the report to the secretariat by close on 14 July. The secretariat would aim to circulate the next draft of the report on 21 July.

Any other business

The chair thanked members and guests for attending and closed the meeting. 

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