22282 - 2019 - Mutual Aid

1) How many times since January 2014 has the East of England Ambulance Service requested mutual aid from other ambulance services?
For each occasion can you detail the date of the request, which ambulance service the mutual aid was requested from, why the request was made and what the outcome of the request was?
2) How many approaches about the possibility of mutual aid have been made in the same time period?
For each occasion can you detail the date of the approach, which ambulance service the mutual aid approach was made to, why the approach was made and what the outcome of the approach was?

 

  • Reference:
    22282
  • Response:

    1) How many times since January 2014 has the East of England Ambulance Service requested mutual aid from other ambulance services?
    For each occasion can you detail the date of the request, which ambulance service the mutual aid was requested from, why the request was made and what the outcome of the request was?
    2) How many approaches about the possibility of mutual aid have been made in the same time period?
    For each occasion can you detail the date of the approach, which ambulance service the mutual aid approach was made to, why the approach was made and what the outcome of the approach was?

     

    The Trust has investigated your request thoroughly and determined that we are unable to respond to this.  We have calculated that to locate and collate the information required would take over the 18 hour limit laid down in the Freedom of Information Act.  Therefore, we are applying exemption s.12 to your request.  In line with our obligations under s.16 to assist requestors we have provided information below regarding mutual aid to assist you. 

    The NHS England Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response Framework and Civil Contingencies Act refers to mutual aid as:

    An agreement between Category 1 and 2 responders and other organisations not covered by the Act, within the same sector or across sectors and across boundaries, to provide assistance with additional resources during an emergency which may go beyond the resources of an individual organisation.

    (1) The above definition is a formal one however “mutual aid” outside of this formal context can come in the manner of routine cross border request for assistance.  During this process a control room would contact a neighbouring Ambulance Trust to enquire if there were any closer responses to provide mutual aid in the event of a single life threatening emergency. 

    (2) Also, mutual aid requests can take the form of Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) requests for mutual aid.  Whilst HARTs are controlled and deployed by local ambulance NHS Trusts they are a national asset in such can be requested for deployment cross ambulance Trust border to provide mutual aid for both major and critical incidents and/or HART specific incidents whereby the originators Trust HARTs are deployed or otherwise unavailable.

    (3) Finally, mutual aid can be requested as a result of a Strategic request by the ambulance service strategic commander or organisations Chief Operating Officer or Director of Operations.  This is governed by several documents and is written into the NHS EPRR Framework 2005. The National Ambulance Service Resilience Unit (NARU) Mutual Aid Memorandum of understanding details that Ambulance Services will supply Mutual Aid when requested, subject to the maintenance of a safe level of service delivery within its own operational area and provides a set of considerations for providing this response during the emergency response to the recovery phase of a major or catastrophic incident. 

    Due to the number and variations of definition the sources of information required to be reviewed and completely respond to this FOI in its entirety would take over the 18 hours based upon the calculation:

    For (1) a search of the separate Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) archives would need to be made, further archived CAD records would need to be requested and integrated, for out of area call signs. This information would need any patient identifiable data (PID) redacted and reviewed.

    For (2), formal HART mutual aid request, the information would be stored within individual end of shift reports for the incident command desk that dispatches HART assets.  These would need to be scrutinised individually.

    For both (1) and (2) an attempt was made to search for instances where an Out Of Area call sign had been used.  This is used when a non-EEAST resource is assigned to an incident on EEAST’s CAD.  This is used for both calls taken within EEAST’s area where informal mutual aid has been requested, or for reporting purposes on calls taken outside of EEAST’s area.  A search of the use of these callsigns returned over 1,700 incidents.  As this call sign is used for a number of reasons each of these incidents would need to be reviewed for their purpose, accessing the record and reviewing this would take approximately a minute per record.

    For (3), the process for recording Surge activations has changed on a number of occasions since during the timeframe requested.  For way of illustration Since December 2018, the date of implementation of the most recent SDMP, surge 3 or above has been declared on 29 occasions.  For each of these occasions the Operational and Tactical Notes from May 2019 onward, and Silver notes and regional EOC notes from prior to May 2019 would need to be reviewed for requests for mutual aid.  Further the action cards stored for each of these occasions would need to be scrutinised for mutual aid requests.  Review of this 10 month period took over two hours to review.

    Based upon the multiple sources of information and range of mutual types it would not be possible to accurately answer this FOI request.

     

     

  • Area:
    Trust wide
  • Category:
    Emergency Operations
  • Month:
  • Year: