Brexit is impacting the way that health care providers are planning for a major disaster, NHS papers have revealed.
The threat of a “mass casualty situation” such as a major disease outbreak, a serious disaster or a terrorist attack, is categorised as “extreme” in committee papers published by the Mid and South Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP), which oversees helth care in Thurrock.
Recent planning has been underway to improve support for vulnerable people in hospices if such an event was to occur and publicly released documents say that is “on hold due to Brexit planning”.
Another change highlighted in the report is a review of casualty transport during such an event, however it does not indicate that Brexit has had an impact on this.
It says that East of England Ambulance Service has been assessing the best way to deal with casualty transportation and are due to “consider alternative or additional transport arrangements for use in a mass casualty situation.”
If these risks are not addressed, the committee papers say that the impact would be “local health care providers being significantly challenged in terms of their capacity to respond to the demands posed by the incident.”
This would result in “other multiagency organisations in the region/nationally having to provide mutual aid and potential delays in treatment”.
Professor Mike Bewick, chair of the CCG Joint Committee said: “All NHS organisations and healthcare providers have plans and processes in place for responding effectively to a wide range of incidents that could impact on health or patient care.
“These could be anything from prolonged period of severe pressure, extreme weather conditions, an outbreak of an infectious disease, or a major transport accident. These plans are tested regularly and reviewed regularly, which is currently being undertaken to incorporate preparations for EU Exit, which is what is referred to in this report to the CCG Joint Committee.”
The details are outlined in a risk register that uses a numbering system to rate them from “green” to “extreme”.
Currently the mass casualty situation is rated 15 – equal to extreme. The STP’s goal is to reduce that to 10, which would be categorised as “high” risk and would lower the chance of the predicted impacts from occurring.
Pic: Southend Hospital