Swine flu 'tsar' named by government6th May 2009
A swine flu tsar has been appointed for England to deal with the threat of a pandemic.
The government has appointed NHS North East’s chief executive Ian Dalton as the national director for NHS Flu Resilience.
His role will be to ensure that the NHS is in the “best possible position” to protect the population from the threat of swine flu.
That will see him coordinate the supply of anti-viral medication and the implementation of any future vaccination programme.
Mr Dalton will take up the post with immediate effect with the appointment coming as the number of UK cases of the H1N1 virus reached 28.
He said: "The NHS is well-placed to deal with such an eventuality and I am looking forward to working with colleagues throughout England to ensure the NHS continues to respond appropriately to any developing situation."
Health Secretary Alan Johnson emphasised the UK had been preparing for the possibility of a pandemic for some time.
The World Health Organisation has identified the UK as among the most prepared countries in the world, he said.
Earlier, England's chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson had warned that it was too early to assume the swine flu outbreak was a mild infection just because no-one in the UK had died.
"We must not be complacent. We know that flu viruses can change their character very rapidly as they move through populations," he said.
Five UK schools – including three in London – have been closed after being hit by the virus.
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