The NHS needs to be able to plan for and respond to a wide range of emergencies and business continuity incidents that could affect health or patient safety. These could be anything from severe weather to an infectious disease outbreak or a major transport accident. Under the Civil Contingencies Act (2004), NHS organisations and providers of NHS funded care must show that they can effectively respond to emergencies and business continuity incidents while maintaining services to patients (for detail see Section 5). This work is referred to in the health service as ‘emergency preparedness, resilience and response’ (EPRR).
The purpose of the Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response Core Standards document is to clearly set out the minimum EPRR standards expected of NHS organisations and providers of NHS funded care. In addition, the standards will also:
- enable agencies across the country to share a common purpose and to co-ordinate EPRR activities in proportion to the organisation’s size and scope; and
- provide a consistent cohesive framework for self-assessment, peer review and assurance processes.