Emergency planning, response and recovery

Emergency planning, response and recovery (EPRR) is the general term for work that the Government, the NHS, emergency services, and local authorities all routinely do to prepare for an emergency situation.

Under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, the Trust is required to plan for major incidents and put strategies in place to return to ‘business as normal’ as soon as possible after an event. This of course necessitates working with partner agencies to share information, participate in joint training and exercising and devise consistent plans for implementation in an emergency.

An emergency is an event that threatens human welfare or the environment, or a major security incident or threat such as a terrorist act or war.

Emergencies could strike at any time, and the Trust’s patients, service users, staff, students and Visitors and any others involved in our business could be severely affected by a major flood, fire, failure of utility services or severe weather such as heavy snow, heatwave or a period of very cold weather.

A major incident or emergency may also result in damage to an extent where facilities such as buildings will need to be evacuated.

The role of the Trust is to have plans in place for Major Incidents and Business Continuity. The Trust has a corporate Major Incident Plan (MIP) and separate Business Continuity Plan (BCP), and individual service lines have their own BCPs and Risk Assessments to reflect their specific areas of operation.

  • To train staff to enable them to manage a major incident or emergency
  • To actively participate in multi-agency partnership working with other interested parties i.e. Local Authorities, Police, London Fire Brigade, London Ambulance Service, Voluntary Sector
  • To share information with those who may be affected by our activities

A major incident is something that by definition cannot be managed internally by the Trust, so partnership working is absolutely vital to ensure that there is a coordinated response to emergency situations so that disruption to patients, service users, staff and other people affected by our activities is kept to a minimum. The Trust fulfils its obligations in respect of partnership working by:

  • Attending Borough Resilience Forums in Camden. These are multi-agency committees where emergency planning issues in all three boroughs are discussed and coordinated responses agreed
  • Participating in ‘table-top’ and live exercises designed to test existing arrangements and identify where improvements are needed
  • Participating in Sector and London based NHS major incident meetings and training exercises
  • Sharing information with partner agencies regarding threats to human welfare
  • Annually reviewing and revising its Major Incident and Business Continuity Plans in light of changing circumstances.

Risks in the borough of Camden are documented in a community risk register. A risk level is assigned based on the likelihood that an incident may take place, and the potential impact it could have. This directs borough planning and ensures that Camden is prepared for the emergencies or risks most likely to occur, and which will have the biggest impact. The major risks in Camden are an infectious disease outbreak, terrorism, loss of utilities, transport accidents.

The Trust Risk Register works exactly in the same way as the community risk register i.e. identification of emergency situations or risks, an assessment of how likely they are, and an evaluation of their impact. Broadly speaking, the main emergencies affecting the Trust are likely to be:

a) Loss or lack of availability of staff; through infectious disease, bad weather, industrial action and transport difficulties

b) Loss of key buildings; through fire, flood, explosion, terrorist incident

c) Loss of or damage to I/T systems causing communication and information difficulties

d) Loss of facilities; disruption of service due to lack of access to facilities of buildings not owned or managed by the Trust.

Trust and Service Line Business Continuity Plans are separate but operate alongside the Trust Major Incident and Emergency Preparedness Plan and are designed to mitigate disruption caused by the above.