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Friday, 1 May 2009

Health care professionals prove their worth as Swine Flu takes hold

The current outbreak of Swine Flu in Mexico is now spreading to many other countries including the UK. This is a concern for everyone, including here in Wales. However, we have to put this in perspective and rest assured that all necessary contingency plans, procedures and responses are in place to meet any escalation of the current situation. I have been observing the current preparations and it is impressive to see colleagues in GPC Wales and GPs across Wales rising to the challenge that this infection may cause. It is undoubtedly primary care that will be on the front line of reassuring, investigating and treating any and all cases that could arise in Wales, together with our public health colleagues. It is at times of such acute need that our health services perform to their best and will I am sure, as they are now, bring out the best in health professional joint working from doctors, nurses, pharmacists, paramedics and the ambulance service, social care services and a whole range of others, too numerous to mention here.

Strong leadership is also essential at times like this and the Welsh Assembly Government is demonstrating its role here. I have been enormously impressed by the timely and clear information being provided to the public and the profession in a context of reassurance, which I think gives confidence to all. The Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Jewell, has been at the forefront of these messages and it reminded me of how important the role of the Chief Medical Officer is in leading on such matters, which cross health boundaries into transport, education, entertainment and so on. The role of the Chief Medical Officer is crucial at times like this and shows unequivocally why Wales' top doctor should be sitting always at the top table of government.

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