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Hospitals: Admissions

Volume 471: debated on Wednesday 30 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what arrangements are in place on an (a) national, (b) regional and (c) local scale to share information on available hospital beds in circumstances of significant emergencies. (178721)

As category 1 responders, national health service trusts have a duty to ensure an appropriate response to major incidents under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. The arrangements should enable a co-ordinated response regardless of the nature or scale of the incident.

Every hospital has major incident plans to make beds available if requested in the event of an emergency. This is co-ordinated at a local or regional level via established command and control systems (gold, silver and bronze). In an exceptionally large emergency this will be co-ordinated nationally across larger geographic areas by the Department’s major incident co-ordination centre, which acts as a focal point of liaison and co-ordination between NHS gold structures.