The NHS is preparing to move staff between different areas to help services cope with the swine flu pandemic.

Chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson and NHS national director for flu resilience Ian Dalton said the measure, if necessary, will help move resources from area to area.

The measure could help identify where staff are needed and where they could be spared.

Mr Dalton said: “At the moment this [swine flu] is significantly more prevalent in some regions than others.

“If it comes to moving resources that would predominantly be a local responsibility of primary care trusts supported by strategic health authorities.”

He said it had not happened yet despite huge pressure, particularly on GP attendances, in London and the West Midlands.

Mr Dalton said: “[So far] the local NHS has done a very good job. We haven’t got to the level of escalation where we would have to do any more.”

The measure of pressure on the NHS will be based on GP and hospital attendance and admission related to swine flu. The Department of Health has not said when the plans will be put in place.