Emergency planning

Never has the need for sound Emergency Plans
and emergency preparedness been greater

Following the events in New York and Madrid, London’s terrorist attacks of July 2005 demonstrate the need to be fully prepared.

In addition to the threats posed by terrorism there are a whole range of potential natural disasters and accidents which could entail large numbers of casualties. Inevitably such accidents and incidents make enormous demands on both NHS Trusts and Private Hospitals. Those entrusted with the management of such organisations must make sure that they have formulated plans that are comprehensive, up to date and practical.

The National Audit Office Report: Facing The Challenge: NHS Emergency Planning in England released in November 2002 identified a number of serious concerns about these issues in many of the plans they examined. The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 now makes it a duty for all Category 1 responders, which includes acute trusts, to have emergency plans covering assessment, prevention and planning for emergency response, but also business continuity management “as part of good business and risk management practice.”

Emergency preparedness, like fire precautions, must be part of every hospital’s planning process. While most existing plans are focused round the accident and emergency department, those plans must now encompass the whole hospital. Modern planning recognises that the hospital as a whole will be affected and must be included within the emergency preparation. The Civil Contingencies Act now places direct responsibility on trusts to respond to any incident in their area, in liaison with other emergency services.

It is clear that in an emergency, especially if the hospital itself is affected by an incident, a business continuity plan allows for systematic disaster recovery. The Major Emergency Plan is designed as a disaster recovery plan for NHS Trusts or Independent Sector hospitals.

Our emergency plans are comprehensive, robust and practical. They cover both the internal re-organisation necessary to cope with major incidents, but also the new issues of business continuity. They are easy to modify locally and include processes to ensure the plan is up to date. Partnership working is commended and PCT/SHA and local authority links are suggested. Never has the need for sound Emergency Plans and emergency preparedness been greater.

The value of paper systems over other storage media can be found here.