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Risk assessment of another pandemic ‘outstanding’

By David Lynch - 04th Mar 2022

A priority risk assessment of the impact of another pandemic on the Irish health system has “been outstanding since September 2020”, a HSE meeting heard at the end of 2021. 

The issue was raised by the audit and risk committee at its meeting in November. According to the minutes, the committee noted that the proposed risk assessment of the impact of another pandemic “has been outstanding since September 2020 and, as such, requested that it be completed as a matter of priority, given the emergence of another pandemic is an independent event from the handling of the current virus”. 

The issue of the risk of another pandemic was also raised at a meeting of the HSE safety and quality committee last November. 

The Medical Independent (MI) asked the HSE for a progress report on this assessment. However, no response had been received by the time of going to press. 

In December 2020, the HSE audit and risk committee discussed the risk of a “second pandemic”. 

It noted that “this risk has been raised by the board and committees on a number of occasions”. “While there are a number of Covid risks on the CRR [corporate risk register], this is a separate and independent risk in terms of probability (eg, emergence of a second pandemic of a different origin).” 

The most recent edition of the HSE CRR provided to MI was approved in October 2021. This has 27 risks in total, with 17 categorised as ‘red’ and 10 as ‘orange’. 

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