Emergency planning and liaison officer

“I am charged with ensuring that the organisation can fulfil its legal responsibilities as set out in the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. This includes putting in place Major Incident and Business Continuity arrangements that are fully compliant with the requirements of the NHS Commissioning Board Emergency Preparedness Framework 2013 and allign themselves with the international standard for Business Continuity (ISO22301).

“In practice, this means that we have to be able to treat and care for patients that are brought to us following a major incident such as a train crash or an explosion, or during an internal incident such as flooding or a power failure it means we would need to keep our services running appropriately and safely during this time. When incidents do occur, I help ensure that the incident is managed appropriately and identifies the lessons and actions that will improve our response the next time.

“As the Emergency Planning and Liaison Officer (EPLO), I am a team of one or a team of 8,000 whichever way you want to look at it. I prefer the latter, as I could not be successful in my role without the time, help and support of everyone else around the trust.

“I work with colleagues across the trust to help ensure that the plans we write are practical and feasible, that people understand their roles and have access to training and an opportunity to practise their roles before their skills are tested out in a real incident.

“I also work with colleagues in partner organisations including the ambulance, fire and police services, local authority and other NHS organisations. We engage closely and excercise our plans together and this helps us understand how each other’s organisations work and improves the working relationships.

Some days I am supporting colleagues on various projects, for example the lift refurbishment projects, and others are spent developing and delivering training or being trained. I attend many meetings as part of the internal and external governance of emergency planning and am also often found at my desk developing or updating plans. A few days are inevitably spent on helping support real incidents and events like the London riots or public sector industrial action day last year.

“The forthcoming London 2012 Olympic Games is the largest sporting event in the world and is going to be on our doorstep for the summer and is definitely the key issue for people to think about! We know that the as part of the Olympic bid, London promised that the NHS would deliver business as usual. We are working hard to raise awareness with our patients and staff to ensure that they are all aware of the potential impacts, particularly in relation to travel times to and from our healthcare sites.”