By Mark Norbury, NARU National Ambulance Resilience Coordinator
The members of the Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response Group (EPRRG) are the Emergency Preparedness leads from the 11 English Ambulance Trusts but also the leads from the Devolved Assemblies of Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.
The group meets every 3 months to discuss matters of interest and the output from its 4 workstreams. These workstreams cover Mitigation, Preparedness, Response & Recovery and Business Continuity led respectively by Chris Chambers from the South West, Paul Kudray from the North West, Robert Flute from the East of England and Andy Dunn from the East Midlands.
The EPRRG has been in existence with its current membership for about 10 years and its output has consistently been prodigious and has provided a wonderful degree of standardisation and commonality across the English Ambulance Trusts. Their work is however not solely used within England but is used by the devolved assemblies to advance Emergency Preparedness in their area of operations. Examples of this work in recent times are:
- The establishment of two National Ambulance Coordination Centres; one in London (primary) and the other in Birmingham (secondary) to be used during major incidents or if a Trust requests mutual aid;
- An approved Memorandum of Understanding for Mutual Aid which the Devolved Assemblies have joined and which was used during the recent floods in Somerset and is being used this summer at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow;
- National standards for emergency planning for the Ambulance Service aligned into the NHS Commissioning Board Core Standards for EPRR and the NHS Commissioning Board Emergency Preparedness Framework;
- Certificate in Command Competence to provide the NHS with a model of excellence and quality in ensuring the future is safer and risks are mitigated, through a structured programme of development of our talented staff;
- A process for identifying and learning lessons (LiD©) using the PROCLUS database originally set-up for Hazardous Area Response Teams around the country;
- The development of National Major Incident Action Cards for use by our commanders;
- The development of National CBRNE Guidance to work with other Ambulance Services and the other emergency services;
- A recovery strategy which provides guidance on the issues a commander needs to consider before formal handover to the recovery group;
- The development of the Health Service Commanders Award which provides the first ‘quality’ standard for those in charge of healthcare command and control;
- Two audits of all English Trusts; one for Emergency Preparedness and the other for Business Continuity.
NARU Director Keith Prior has overseen the assimilation of the EPRRG into NARU to more closely align the various strands of Ambulance Service emergency preparedness. He says:
“The EPRRG is an essential element of the NARU structure and the close links between NARU staff and the Emergency Preparedness leads in all Ambulance Service Trusts is a wonderful example of healthcare professionals working together for the benefit of patients. The wealth of experience of both the Ambulance Service and Emergency Preparedness across NARU and the EPRRG is exemplary and I strongly support the work of the EPRRG.”
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