NZ “Epidemic” Preparedness Exercise On May the 10th

The Ministry of Health has posted General Instructions for Exercise Cruickshank, for so-called “epidemic” preparedness at the link at the end of this post. It mentions that planning and intelligence staff will be liasing with the WHO and the flow diagram on page 4 includes a box with “Exercise Injects,” in it.
I e-mailed Angie Perry, who is cited as a contact on the document and asked her if “Exercise Injects” relates to the proposed vaccination of members of the public and if so, if the proposed vaccines will have been tested properly before being administered to members of the public. This is the reply:

I have been asked to respond to your email.

Exercise Cruickshank is a drill of the New Zealand Influenza Pandemic Action Plan.
The Exercise Injects are artifical events added into a scenario as it unfolds to simulate what would reaslistically happen during the course of whatever it is that you happen to be testing (in this case an influenza pandemic). This ensures that the response plans to such an event get thoroughly tested.

All vaccines licenced for use in New Zealand have to go through a rigorous process – facilitated through Medsafe – the governments medicines regulatory body. Vaccination is not compulsory in New Zealand for any vaccine.

Thankyou for your query
Annie Coughlan

This is from the introduction of Operation Cruickshank.

1. Introduction

Exercise Cruickshank is an all of government exercise, designed to test the New Zealand Influenza Pandemic Action Plan (NZIPAP). The Ministry of Health is leading the planning and conduct of the exercise, as the government agency responsible for leading the response to a human influenza pandemic. The exercise will take place over five days in May 2007, in the following sequence:

Day 1 ‘Keep It Out’ – Thursday 10 May

Day 2 ‘Stamp It Out’ – Wednesday 16 May

Day 3 ‘Manage It’ – Thursday 17 May

Days 4 and 5 ‘Recovery’ –
Local workshops Wednesday 23 May
National workshop Wednesday 30 May

The Exercise Coordinating Instruction and the Exercise Common Elements give the overarching, all of government detail for Exercise Cruickshank. The Health Sector General Instruction gives additional detail for how the health sector will operate.

This document deals with the aspects of Exercise Cruickshank specific to the Ministry of Health. The Ministry of Health will deal horizontally at a national level with other government agencies, and vertically with regional co-ordinators and DHBs within the health sector. The Ministry will support the DESC system by providing health advice and health sector situational awareness, and by implementing policies and plans developed at the all of government level.

The role of lead agency in a national multi-sectoral operational response is new to the Ministry of Health. The systems to manage and resolve this situation are still being developed within the Ministry. Exercise Cruickshank is a critical component of this development and testing process. Mistakes and capability gaps will be identified, but that is the purpose of this exercise, to allow these to be resolved. Participants at all levels are to be encouraged to make decisions and act as they think best, in the knowledge that even mistakes during the exercise are worthwhile and useful learning tools.

2. Aim

The Ministry of Health is participating in Exercise Cruickshank in order to improve its ability to respond to an influenza pandemic in New Zealand. This response is based on the New Zealand Influenza Pandemic Action Plan (NZIPAP) and the National Health Emergency Plan:Infectious Diseases (NHEP:ID).

This improvement will come about through:

a testing of the Ministry’s systems and procedures

familiarisation of staff with these systems and procedures

development of a closer working relationship with other government agencies and the wider health sector

the refinement and improvement of the Ministry’s systems and procedures based on feedback and evaluation.

3. Objectives

The objectives for Exercise Cruickshank are detailed in Appendix 1 of the Exercise Coordinating Instruction.

4. Scenario

Appendix 6 of the Exercise Coordinating Instruction gives the outline scenarios for days 1-3. More detailed scenario information will be given out to exercise participants by Exercise Control as necessary.

5. Organisation/Participants

5.1 Health Sector
The health sector will establish up to three tiers to control and co-ordinate the health response to an influenza pandemic (see Health Sector Response Structure diagram below). Each tier works closely with the one above and below, passing information up the chain, and implementing directives and policies passed down. At the national level the response structure is divided into all of government and health sector.

Ministry of Health General Instructions for Exercise Cruickshank

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Clare Swinney

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