We must be prepared to provide a responsive approach to unexpected emergency events which, although unlikely, may occur.
We do this by carrying out risk assessments to form plans, continuously assessing these plans and sharing this information with other responders to coordinate an effective response.
We call this work emergency preparedness, resilience and response (EPRR).
What do you plan for?
We have plans in place for many emergency situations. These are assessed, altered as necessary and trained for on a regular basis to make sure we are prepared if a difficult situation arises.
Examples of these include:
- Infectious disease outbreaks
- Mass casualty incidents – for example major transport incidents
- Planned industrial action
- Terrorist activity
- Chemical and biological incidents
- Extreme weather – for example, heatwaves and flooding
All of these events can cause health problems in a large numbers of our population and will require the Trust to provide appropriate care for affected patients while continuing to deliver high quality care for our existing patients.
Each of our service areas has a business continuity plan which describes how to keep the service running in the event of an emergency. These plans are reviewed and tested regularly.
We work closely with other organisations, including Cleveland Police, Cleveland Fire Brigade, the North East Ambulance Service and Public Health England, to make sure we are all on board and aware of emergency plans.
This coordination and teamwork means that we can put plans into action quickly and effectively if or when they are needed.
NHS England EPRR core standards
NHS England issues updated EPRR core standards every year with set standards that our Trust must meet.
The criteria includes measures such as regular risk assessments, staff training, equipment checks, information sharing and even media strategy.
We use these criteria as a guide to assess ourselves to make sure that all bases are covered so that we can effectively respond to major, critical and business continuity incidents if they occur.
In addition to this, our Trust must also meet the NHS decontamination checklist. This is a list of infrastructure, personal protection equipment and items that we must have to keep our staff safe in the event of an emergency situation.
Training and exercises
All of our emergency care staff complete monthly training in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) awareness and decontamination techniques. This training includes formal presentations and practical sessions including putting up a decontamination tent.
It is mandatory for all staff to complete fire training. All staff must take part once a year to make sure our fire safety protocols are fresh in their minds. In addition to this, we also carry out live evacuation exercises at our hospitals in partnership with Cleveland Fire Brigade.