On 2 October, Minister Kuipers of Health, Welfare and Sport launched a new crisis response organisation under the RIVM umbrella: the National Functionality for Scaling up Infectious Disease Control (Landelijke Functie Opschaling Infectieziektebestrijding, LFI). The reason for setting up the LFI is the risk that the Netherlands will once again be confronted with a large-scale outbreak of an infectious disease. In such a situation, the LFI will ensure rapid upscaling and national coordination of the medical-operational processes of the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs), i.e. testing, vaccination and source and contact tracing.

In the event of an infectious disease that requires a large-scale, national response, the LFI will be ready within 48 hours to coordinate these operational processes on the Minister’s behalf and to organise and implement them in cooperation with the GGDs. On top of this task, the LFI will manage outbreak preparations, such as, training and exercises, as well as agreements on information provision and the rapid availability of large numbers of staff.

The cabinet took the decision to set up the LFI in July 2022. Since that time, the GGDs, the Netherlands Municipal Public Health Services and Medical Assistance in Accidents and Disasters (GGD GHOR Nederland), various RIVM departments and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport have worked closely together to determine how the new crisis response organisation will boost pandemic preparedness.

The LFI is part of a new RIVM domain with a focus on implementation programmes, such as vaccination and population screening programmes, as well as the sort of national upscaling that a large-scale outbreak of an infectious disease requires.