Major incident planning in primary care trusts in north-west England: A cross-sectional survey.

T Day, K Challen, D Walter

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    The Civil Contingencies Act (2004) requires UK primary care trusts (PCTs) to plan and respond to major health incidents. We carried out a cross-sectional survey of all PCTs in the north-west region of England using a telephone interview with a structured questionnaire. We assessed: (1) staff members responsible for emergency planning; (2) risk assessment; (3) training and exercises; and (4) the planned response to a major incident. Response rate was 61% (20/33). Twelve out of 20 employed an emergency planning officer. All responding PCTs had participated in a tabletop exercise in the previous year and nine of 20 in a live exercise in the previous three years. Nine provided major incident training to new staff. Fifteen had discussed major incident preparations with their local acute trust but none could quantify the support they would be able to provide in terms of accelerated discharges. We have revealed potentially serious deficiencies in the emergency preparedness of many PCTs. PCTs are expected to play a vital role in coordinating the National Health Service (NHS) response to a major incident and these results have important implications for the ability of the NHS as a whole to effective respond to such incidents.
    Original languageUndefined
    Pages (from-to)25-29
    Number of pages5
    JournalHealth Services Management Research
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010

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