Section 46 - Role of the Board and clinical commissioning groups in respect of emergencies
467.This section inserts a new section 252A into the NHS Act and sets out the role and responsibilities of the NHS Commissioning Board and CCGs in relation to assuring NHS emergency preparedness, resilience and response. Emergency preparedness enables organisations within the health service and communities to respond to an emergency in a coordinated, proportionate, timely and effective manner.
468.Subsection (1) of section 252A confers duties on the NHS Commissioning Board and each CCG to ensure they are properly prepared for emergencies which might affect them. Similar duties would be imposed on each NHS provider as a term of their contracts with the NHS Commissioning Board or CCGs to provide NHS services.
469.Subsections (2) and (4) of section 252A provide that the NHS Commissioning Board also has duties to take steps to secure that CCGs and providers of NHS services are properly prepared for emergencies.
470.Subsections (3) and (5) of section 252A provide that these duties include a responsibility for monitoring compliance by CCGs and NHS providers with their duties relating to emergency preparedness under this section and, in the case of NHS providers, under the terms of their service contracts with the NHS Commissioning Board or CCGs.
471.Subsection (6) of section 252A allows the NHS Commissioning Board to coordinate the responses between CCGs and service providers to emergencies that might affect those bodies. Subsection (7) of section 252A allows the NHS Commissioning Board to arrange for any other person or body to exercise any of its functions under subsections (2) to (6) of that section in relation to securing the preparedness of CCGs and NHS providers.
472.Subsection (8) of section 252A ensures that if the NHS Commissioning Board makes arrangements under subsection (7) of that section for another body or person to carry out any of its responsibilities for emergency planning, resilience and response, it may also arrange for that other person or body to exercise any functions that the Board has by virtue of the NHS Commissioning Board being a Category 1 responder under the Civil Contingency Act 2004.
473.Subsection (9) of section 252A requires that all relevant service providers must appoint an individual to be responsible for ensuring that the provider is properly prepared for any relevant emergency, that the provider complies with any requirements relating to emergency preparedness in its service contracts with the NHS Commissioning Board or CCGs and that the NHS Commissioning Board is provided with information that it may require so that it can carry out its duties to secure preparedness and monitor compliance with emergency preparedness obligations. The person appointed would be known as an “accountable emergency officer”.
474.Subsection (10) of section 252A is an interpretation provision defining certain terms used in that section. “Relevant emergency” is defined, in relation to the NHS Commissioning Board, a CCG or a service provider respectively, as any emergency which might affect the body in question, whether by increasing the need for services it may arrange or provide, or in any other way. “Relevant service provider” is defined as a body or person providing services in pursuance of service arrangements. “Service arrangements” is defined, in relation to a relevant service provider, as arrangements made by the NHS Commissioning Board or a CCG under or by virtue of section 3, 3A, 3B, 4 or 7A or Schedule 1. The provisions therefore apply in relation to an emergency where the body may be asked to assist other NHS bodies or public authorities responding to that emergency, as well as one which directly affects their local NHS services.