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Pandemic preparedness: Government must release 2016 report, says information commissioner

BMJ 2020; 371 doi: (Published 12 October 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m3953

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  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. The BMJ

The Information Commissioner’s Office has ordered the government to release an unpublished report on Exercise Cygnus, a 2016 exercise to test the UK’s preparedness for a flu pandemic.

Six months ago the NHS doctor Moosa Qureshi submitted a request under freedom of information legislation to the Department of Health and Social Care for England requesting the release of a report into Exercise Cygnus and threatening legal action if the health and social care secretary, Matt Hancock, failed to release the report.1

The Information Commissioner’s Office has now intervened, ordering the department to either release the information or explain its decision for withholding it within 20 days.

In mid-September …

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