NHS England has called for a “deep dive” into local evacuation and shelter arrangements, amid ongoing concerns about outdated and unsafe estate.
NHS England’s director of emergency preparedness, resilience and response Stephen Groves wrote to trusts: “Following the publication of the updated evacuation and shelter guidance for the NHS in England, and recent work driven by the heightened risk associated with reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC), the 2022-23 EPRR annual deep dive will focus on local evacuation and shelter arrangements.”
The letter, sent at the end of last week, comes amid growing concerns about NHS estate, including RAAC planks which were used in constructing public sector buildings in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
Areas to be examined in the deep dive vary by type of organisation. However, according to a self-assessment tool referenced in the letter, questions for providers include: whether they have “a process in place to triage patients in the event of an incident requiring evacuation and/or shelter of patients”; whether there are “effective arrangements in place to support partners in a community evacuation, where the population of a large area may need to be displaced”; and whether “evacuation and shelter arrangements include resilient mechanisms to communicate with staff, patients, their families and the public, pre, peri and post evacuation”.
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Source: HSJ, 5 August 2022