Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Put people ahead of GDP when managing swine flu

The Green Party is calling for Labour to put people ahead of GDP in their plans for managing swine flu.

Joseph Healy, the Green Party's parliamentary candidate for Vauxhall, and the deputy chair of the London Ambulance Service Patients Forum, said:

"In a meeting with the flu planners for London -- which the London Ambulance Service Patients Forum had over two years ago -- we were told that large scale public events would not be closed down because of the economic impact. The chair of the Forum, Malcolm Alexander, and I are due to meet Dr Simon Tanner, the Regional Director of Public Health for London, later today (the 28th of July), when I will be raising more of these issues."

Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party, said: "Leading experts are saying that school closures may stem the spread of the disease. If health experts tell us it is time to stop gathering in large crowds, we must heed their advice."

Lucas continued: "If it means that sports fixtures are affected or business conferences don't go ahead, then so be it. The economy may well have to take a temporary hit to stop unnecessary deaths."

The Green Party also wants the government to ensure that people get clear and consistent messages about what they should and shouldn't do during the swine flu epidemic.

Lucas remarked: "The government, by issuing contradictory advice to pregnant women on staying away from crowds was at best unhelpful. If public information is still in a muddle and mess in the autumn, it could lead to many excess deaths."

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