Preparing for Emergencies- Guidance For Health Boards in Scotland

The document provides strategic guidance for Health Board Chief Executives and NHS Senior Managers on fulfilling their obligations under the Civil Contingencies 2004 and other key legislation underpinning emergency preparedness, response and recovery.

Executive Summary

Major incidents can happen anywhere, at any time. They can be anything from prolonged periods of extreme weather conditions, public health incidents, or a major transport accident, all of which cannot be managed within routine service arrangements and require special procedures to be implemented.

Health Boards are expected to be resilient and well prepared to address the disruptive challenges of various types of major incidents while maintaining services to patients. This can be complex, involving many issues including the assessment of risk, the deployment of resources and co‑operation with other agencies to develop robust plans.

This guidance is designed to help Health Boards across Scotland be as prepared as they can be to serve the public when such problems arise. Being prepared means that Health Boards, particularly those identified as category 1 and 2 responders under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 (CCA), clearly understand their vulnerabilities and are ready to respond effectively to major incidents.

Drawing on recent good practice evidence and professional expertise, Preparing for Emergencies provides strategic guidance for Chief Executives and other senior health service leaders in the context of their duties under the CCA and other key legislation.

Divided into eight sections, the document explains what should be done to enhance organisational resilience and capability.

Section 1 sets the context of the guidance and explains its purpose, while Section 2 highlights NHSScotland's aims, objectives and principles in relation to preparing for emergencies including what Chief Executives should do to ensure the organisation's readiness. Section 3 outlines relevant legislation underpinning emergency planning and identifies the categorization of Health Boards under
the CCA.

Section 4 focuses on planning for emergencies generally, setting out the roles and responsibilities of various leaders and managers in the organisations that comprise NHSScotland, while Section 5 highlights the essential elements of emergency planning, indicating clearly the actions that should be taken to ensure the Health Board can operate effectively during an emergency situation. Section 6 explains the Scottish Government's role during an emergency and how Health Boards may seek support when faced with particular service pressures during a major incident.

Section 7 outlines what Health Boards should do to develop capability for handling the consequences of specific types of major incidents. Section 8 explains the actions required to enable an effective response to be made to potentially vulnerable people in the community.

Preparing for Emergencies replaces NHS in Scotland Manual of Guidance: Responding to Emergencies, 2005.


Email: NHSScotland Resilience Unit

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