The NHS needs to plan for, and respond to, a wide range of incidents and emergencies that could affect health or patient care. These could be anything from extreme weather conditions to an outbreak of an infectious disease or a major transport accident. This is referred to as emergency preparedness, resilience and response (EPRR). The Civil Contingencies Act (2004) requires NHS organisations, and providers of NHS-funded services, to show that they can deal with such incidents while maintaining services.
The 2022 Health and Care Bill amended the 2004 Civil Contingencies Act (CCA) to designate Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) as “Category 1 responders”, which means that they are at the core of an emergency response.
As a Category 1 responder, the ICB must:
- assess the risk of emergencies occurring and use this to inform contingency planning
- put in place emergency plans and business continuity management arrangements
- make information available to the public, including warning and informing in the event of an emergency
- co-operate with and share information with other local responders
The ICB coordinates the activities of all providers of NHS funded healthcare to plan for and respond to emergencies. The ICB represents the NHS at the West Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum (LRF), which coordinates multi-agency partners to prepare for and respond to civil emergencies.
The ICB has an Accountable Emergency Officer (AEO) for EPRR, Beverley Geary, who is responsible for discharging the ICBs responsibilities around EPRR and providing assurance to the board.