Guidance and framework

Information last updated: 8 September 2020

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Summary of published key strategic guidance for health EPRR

These charts give an overview of the key strategic EPRR guidance documents currently published. For published documents, website links are embedded in the charts.

NHS England Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response Framework

This is a strategic national framework containing principles for health emergency preparedness, resilience and response for the NHS in England at all levels including NHS provider organisations, providers of NHS-funded care, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), GPs and other primary and community care organisations.

All NHS-funded organisations must meet the requirements of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, the NHS Act 2006 as amended by the Health and Social Care Act 2012, the NHS standard contract, the NHS Core Standards for EPRR and NHS England business continuity management framework.

NHS England Incident Response Plan (National)

The NHS England Incident Response Plan (National) is the overarching generic plan that details how NHS England responds to any health related incident or emergency at the national level.

Regional and Director of Commissioning Operations teams’, at a local level, incident response plans will be modelled on the national plan to ensure consistency and standardisation of NHS England’s response plans and functions.

The key objective is to provide confidence through effective oversight, direction and co-ordination of the NHS to enable it to provide a resilient response to incidents and emergencies that could have a national impact upon the NHS.

Concept of operations for the management of mass casualties

This Concept of Operations sets out the way NHS England will establish command and control for a mass casualty incident, and the arrangements which will be put in place beyond normal incident arrangements. It also confirms how, if required, we will make use of powers under section 252A of the NHS Act 2006, as amended by the Health and Social Care Act 2012, to direct the health service to respond.

In addition to this, the roles of Ambulance, Acute, Community and Mental Health and Primary Care providers have been set out and, where necessary, identify anticipated requirements for response.

NHS England asks all organisations to work with partners, to ensure their own Mass Casualty response arrangements meet any specific requirements of the Concept of Operations, and these work within the wider health and social care economy.

NHS England EPRR Annual Assurance Process

The purpose of the EPRR Annual Assurance Process is to assess the preparedness of the NHS, both commissioners and providers, against common NHS EPRR Core Standards.  As part of the review process, NHS England has written to commissioners and providers of NHS funded services confirming the process for EPRR assurance, which includes EPRR Annual Assurance Guidance and a Core Standards Self Assessment Tool.

NHS Core Standards for Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response (EPRR)

As part of the NHS England Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response (EPRR) Framework, providers and commissioners of NHS funded services must show they can effectively respond to major, critical and business continuity incidents whilst maintaining services to patients.   NHS England has written to commissioners and providers of NHS funded services, sharing the NHS Core Standards for EPRR which sets out the minimum requirements expected of providers of NHS funded services in respect of EPRR. This is supported by the Core Standards Guidance Document.  In addition to this, core Standard 60 requires  acute hospitals to assure themselves against the Decontamination Checklist.

NHS England Shelter and Evacuation Guidance

This guidance is intended to provide a framework for all Health and Social Care providers in the planning, preparation and response to sheltering and evacuating of patients, staff and others from, or within, health care settings, including whole site evacuation.

While this guidance concentrates on the shelter and evacuation of hospital sites, the principles are sufficiently flexible to be adapted for use in respect of other buildings or facilities on healthcare provider sites or to wider primary, social and community care and independent sector facilities. Shelter and evacuation planning is part of broader emergency planning and preparedness.

This guidance updates and supersedes the 2009 Department of Health guidance ‘Planning for the evacuation and sheltering of people in health sector settings: Interim strategic national guidance’.

Resilient Telecommunications Guidance for NHS England and the NHS in England

Good communication is at the heart of an effective response to and recovery from, an emergency and responders should plan for disruption to its communications.

Resilient communications planning is part of broader emergency planning and preparedness and should take account of:

  • Community Risk Registers which provide insight into the types of local situations that might cause disruption.
  • The National Risk Register (NRR) which identifies a number of situations that could potentially disrupt telecommunications.

This guide sets out the minimum operational communications functions, equipment and networks to enable NHS England and NHS-funded organisations in England to discharge their statutory responsibilities. This document sets out maintaining critical functions of patient safety during a major incident or significant service disruption.