Doctors are being warned that a flu pandemic across UK would be like "1,000 September 11ths" with preparations for it "woefully inadequate.
According to Dr Steve Hajioff while addressing the British Medical Association's annual conference, stockpiling anti-viral drugs is not as important as getting fuel, transport and water companies to get ready for a flu pandemic.
He said: "We are expecting a real flu pandemic of the kind we have not seen for years and this is one of the biggest catastrophes. What's more, it's a totally predictable one, but if we act now we can mitigate its effects."
Dr Hajioff who is a London GP, pointed out that the 1918 pandemic had killed 40 per cent of the population. "In the present day, you are talking about five million people across Europe and hundreds of thousands in the UK. It's like 1,000 September 11ths all at once."
While Dr Hajioff gave the government credit for having taken action, he asserted that stocking anti-viral drugs was the "icing not the cake".