“Since the events of September 11, the NHS has made a concerted effort to improve its planning and preparedness for dealing with major incidents and in many respects has succeeded. But there is still room for improvement in the systems in place to ensure that the NHS response is as good as possible.
“I recognise that there are limits to what can be done in improving readiness. Some incidents are of a scale for which no organisation could expect to be fully prepared. And it does not necessarily make sense for everyone in the NHS to be prepared for every eventuality.
“However, the nature of the threats now potentially facing us means that the Department of Health and the Chief Executives of hospital, ambulance and primary care trusts need to continue to act with determination to improve their planning and readiness.”