The Trust works with partners across the health economy and in local emergency services to ensure we can respond to emergencies. We carry out regular exercises to test procedures and have a comprehensive training programme. Working alongside our partners in scenarios is really valuable. By ensuring a common understanding of the procedures and skills we are well prepared should the worst happen.
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.
What is a Major Emergency or Major Incident?
Major emergencies are termed 'Major Incidents' by the CIVIL CONTINGENCIES ACT 2004. A Major Incident is any incident that has the potential to escalate and:
- Requires a substantial emergency response from one or more agencies that is likely to stretch resources
- Needs special arrangements to be put in place including the unlocking of resources.
- Requires a planned, coordinated multi agency approach and the implementation of Command and Control arrangements.
Why plan for emergencies?
- The main reason is of course, because disasters can and do happen and it’s sensible to have plans to deal with them.
- There is a moral duty of care to patients and their families, the staff, the community and partner agencies.
- Emergency plans are an insurance policy to mitigate the social and financial costs of Major Incidents.
- As an acute NHS trust we are a ‘Category One Responder’ under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 and have a statutory obligation to plan, train and exercise for emergencies in consultation, coordination, communication and cooperation with partner agencies like other NHS organisations, emergency services, local authorities, government agencies, the voluntary sector, commercial healthcare providers, contractors and suppliers.
What is the role of the Trust?
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).
- 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
Emergency Planning is overseen by our Emergency Planning Team who can be contacted by e mail at ekh-tr.EmergencyPlanning@nhs.net. The Chief Operating Officer Lee Martin is the Accountable Emergency Officer and the member of the Board of Directors responsible for Emergency Planning, Resilience & Response is Mr Keith Palmer a Non-Executive Director.
The Trust is a member of the Kent Resilience Forum which is brings together all the emergency services and other responders such as the NHS, utilities and the voluntary sector and you can find out more about their work here including the community risk register: www.kentprepared.org.uk