NHS Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response

Our resilience and specialist operations team had been involved in both responding to, and helping us to prepare if, any untoward, adverse or serious major incidents, or terrorist attacks were to happen, as well as fully participating in our response to COVID-19. 

During the last year resilience managers attended just under 1,000 Local Resilience Forum meetings with partner agencies while also attending just over 650 Safety Advisory Group meetings to support events, this increased as Covid-19 restrictions relaxed.

Hazardous area response team (HART) respond to patients requiring medical care in any hazardous environment. The team also support ambulance crews responding to patients who are not necessarily in a hazardous area but who are hard-to-reach or where multiple clinicians are required.  Over the year this has seen the team respond to patients taken unwell in and around water, at height and within confined spaces.

  • Our HART colleagues supported, the Scottish Ambulance Service by providing specialist medical cover at the 2021 COP26 conference in Glasgow.
  • We ran multiagency training bringing partners from police, fire, health and other agencies together to respond to any potential marauding terrorist attack. During the 12 exercises run during September and October 2021, over 1400 responders improved their clinical skills and gained a better understanding of how an incident of this nature would be managed and care delivered to those in need.
  • We have been using the Airbox situational awareness software for the last three years and, following a grant from NHS Digital, the department started to roll out Airbox to all levels of commander within the Trust.  This software allows live time mapping, imagery and timelines to be shared between commanders irrespective of where they are operating, giving them real time information as it happens.
  • Part of the team’s role is to ensure the Trust, as well as individual departments, are prepared for an incident which affects their operational productivity.  This business continuity planning proved hugely beneficial during the year with ambulance stations having to be temporarily closed and people moved to operate from other locations due to flooding and a lack of safe drinking and washing water within the station.
  • The team supported learning which occurred after a power incident resulted in both the Airwave radio network and the computer aided dispatch (CAD) systems being compromised.  While the incident itself was managed using business continuity plans, the learning the team helped facilitate after the incident has strengthened the business continuity plans in place, should a similar incident occur again.
  • The team continued to run the Foundation Command Training Course for managers taking a command function at a critical or major incident.  This training is in addition to the major incident training which is delivered to all new students who join EEAST, ensuring they are able to effectively respond to these significant incidents.

Each year English NHS trusts complete a statutory annual self-assessment and review of compliance against the NHS Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response Framework, in line with the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.

We maintained our overall compliance as SUBSTANTIAL and compliance with interoperable capabilities was also rated as SUBSTANTIAL.  To ensure continual development and following external audit, the department maintains and manages an action plan to ensure the Trust develops and is able to deliver a high-level service.

Next Page: Section Two - Provide outstanding quality of care and performance to our patients

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