RSPH supports the Department of Health over Swine 'Flu

1 May 2009

Professor Richard Parish, Chief Executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, has publicly supported the UK Departments of Health and advice that has been given by the Health Secretary, Alan Johnson.

Speaking to Laura Snook at MSN, Professor Parish was firm in his support of the Government’s approach. When asked to comment on how wise it was of Alan Johnson not to mention creating community support networks, Professor Parish was of the opinion that the current situation and the severity of the virus does not yet warrant such plans, as they could induce panic, although it is important for employers and others to consider contingency arrangements in the event of a pandemic.

Professor Parish was quick to support Johnson’s claim that Britain and France are very well prepared saying:
“As an independent health organisation I can say that this is certainly the case; the UK has planned for a pandemic for a number of years and I can confirm the fact that this country is better prepared than almost anywhere else in the world. We have stocks of the anti-viral medication that will slightly limit the duration [of the virus] but more importantly reduce the severity of the symptoms”.

Professor Parish added that the H1N1 virus in its current form is “much less severe than some of the other viral forms around” and pointed out that “all the indications are, at the moment, that the Mexican ‘flu virus is having a relatively mild effect outside of Mexico City itself”.

He did add that it would be important to prioritise the treatment of workers in the front line of care, those involved in the logistical movement of goods, supplies and, most importantly, food. He also pointed out that it would be important for employers to look at supporting people to work from home should swine ‘flu become a full-blown pandemic.

Professor Parish was confident of the position of the UK in relation to the virus; “The UK is highly skilled in this area”, he said. “The best people in the world are working on pandemic issues here in the UK”.

The RSPH is supporting the Department of Health initiatives which focus on the slogan ‘Catch It, Bin It, Kill It’, encouraging people to use tissues when they cough or sneeze, to bin the tissue and wash their hands thoroughly. The RSPH is particularly committed to Hand Hygiene and would like to remind you of the importance of hand washing in preventing the spread of infection. For more information please visit:

A leaflet should be arriving at your home from the Department of Health, but you can read it at

Questions and answers on pandemic flu can be found at

Questions and answers on swine flu can be found at

Advice for businesses who would like to start preparing a plan for their employees can be found at

For further information on the RSPH, please go to


Note to editors

The Royal Society for Public Health is an independent, multi-disciplinary organisation, dedicated to the promotion and protection of collective human health and well-being. Through advocacy, mediation, empowerment, knowledge and practice we advise on policy development, provide education and training services, encourage scientific research, disseminate information and certify products, training centres and processes.

Over 100,000 students take our qualifications each year in food hygiene, salon hygiene, pest control, health & safety, nutrition, the built environment, meat inspection, health and emergency planning. We provide qualifications which are directly relevant to the workplace and we help people to progress through their chosen career by offering qualifications at different levels. The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) is also an awarding body recognised by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA). We have a network of over 1500 training centres throughout the UK. We provide a wide range of course material including syllabuses, sample exam answers

The RSPH is an independent charity formed in October 2008 with the merger of the Royal Society of Health (RSH) and the Royal Institute of Public Health (RIPH). The RSPH has a Royal Charter and Her Majesty The Queen is our Patron.

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