REMEMBER swine flu; the H1N1 influenza pandemic ten years ago? I do.

I was asked to give a presentation to a group of occupational health nurses, so I looked into the preparations made by health agencies, local authorities and national government.

I was impressed at the detailed plans affecting everything from disease containment to food supply delivery.

Fortunately, the virus proved to cause only mild illness.

But it ensured that plans for a co-ordinated public health response were applied in the context of real UK life in 2010.

I have confidence in our NHS, public health services and epidemiologists who are working hard behind the scenes for the public good.

In this paper on February 10 in a letter (Graham Chainey) and then in an interview (Samer Bagaeen) we have heard from people who express their fears publicly, undermining confidence in those agencies.

I can sympathise with Mr Chainey’s wish for more information.

But his claim that we can then “judge for ourselves” isn’t helpful.

The protection of the health of the population needs a co-ordinated approach led by experts, not allowing every individual to choose how they want to handle it.

If we insist on the health experts keeping us informed of every detail and development, we are asking them to spend less time on contact tracing, testing and containing the virus.

I am saddened that your reporter Jody Doherty-Cove deliberately chose to write “Professor Samer Bagaeen, a leading figure on Brighton and Hove City Council’s Health board” which may well be true but is misleading.

It suggests to the casual reader that his academic qualifications and title must be related to health or medicine.

His qualifications of Frics (Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) and Mrtpi (Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute) means that he is actually a respected expert in planning and is indeed professor of planning at Kent University.

If the quotes attributed to him in the article are correct, they are unproven, inflammatory and unhelpful at a time when we, the public, need to keep calm and trust the public health experts.

Dr Steve Waters (not an expert in public health)

Address supplied