How we prepare for emergencies

Emergencies come in many forms, such as large scale transport accidents, major fires or explosions, terrorist attacks, severe weather flooding or significant disease outbreaks such as COVID-19. Thankfully, they are the exception rather than the norm.

However, when emergencies do happen they bring about significant challenges and require coordinated effort and planned and practised response arrangements to meet those challenges.

Emergencies are rarely confined to a single agency and by their nature involve a range of responders (for example, police, fire and rescue, ambulance, local authorities). NHS organisations collaborate with partner organisations to agree and rehearse arrangements for multi-agency response to incidents.

All NHS organisations need to be prepared for, and able to respond to, unforeseen emergencies and incidents. The programme of work within the NHS is referred to as emergency preparedness, resilience and response (EPRR).

The arrangements for EPRR within health is that local commissioning organisations have responsibility for oversight of the emergency preparedness of the healthcare providers (hospital trusts, community healthcare trusts, mental health trusts) they fund.

To be ready for emergencies, NHS organisations, including Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have a 24/7 on call system, develop plans and train and exercise relevant staff in those plans.

Further information and resources relating to emergency preparedness can be found by following the links below:

Further information and resources relating to emergency preparedness can be found by following the links below: