Sector 'should be ready to help' if bird flu strikes

Local councils for voluntary service might be required to expand the services they provide in order to help stricken victims of bird flu in the event of a UK outbreak.

Bob Kahn, the director of new charity Avian Flu Action, has asked the NACVS to work with local primary care trusts to assist local communities in the aftermath of an outbreak.

"Voluntary organisations should be prepared so they can help the most vulnerable members of the community," he said. "Existing voluntary groups are in a position to provide that kind of help and realise the strength of their resources."

For example, he said, services such as home meal deliveries could be used to ferry medical aid to isolated avian flu sufferers who quarantine themselves in their homes.

The Government has said avian flu will almost certainly reach the UK.

It is due to release a contingency plan tomorrow.

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