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Ambulance Services: Floods

Volume 486: debated on Monday 12 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his most recent assessment is of the level of readiness of the ambulance service to respond to incidents of flooding; and if he will make a statement. (242715)

Under the Civil Contingences Act 2004, ambulance trusts are expected to respond appropriately to civil emergencies, including flooding.

The 2008 National Capability Survey (100 per cent. response from NHS organisations) assessed that the NHS, and particularly ambulance trusts, have contributed to multi-agency Local Resilience Forum (LRF) flood plans which have been submitted to, and reviewed by, the Environment Agency (EA).

NHS ambulance trusts are, therefore, fully involved in the flood planning process, are statutory consultees of the EA, and participate in multi-agency flood related exercises, as well as participating on LRF and associated multi-agency working groups. Recent exercise scenarios have included coastal flooding, tidal surges, fluvial flooding, surface water flooding and flooding caused by torrential rain conditions. “Lessons learned” from these exercises and real flooding events, are used by the Ambulance Service, with the relevant agencies in individual LRFs, to develop specific medical assistance protocols for the care and effective transportation of patients from flooded areas.

Ambulance trusts receive quarterly updates of EA Flood Plans pertinent to their geographic area of operational responsibility.