Planning for more resilient healthcare in emergencies under increasing risks and decreasing budgets 23 June 2011, Loughborough, UK

International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment

ISSN: 1759-5908

Article publication date: 4 October 2011



(2011), "Planning for more resilient healthcare in emergencies under increasing risks and decreasing budgets 23 June 2011, Loughborough, UK", International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, Vol. 2 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Planning for more resilient healthcare in emergencies under increasing risks and decreasing budgets 23 June 2011, Loughborough, UK

Article Type: News article From: International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, Volume 2, Issue 3

Organized by: Health and Care Infrastructure Research and Innovation Centre (HaCIRIC), School of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University, UK


The UK has been developing strategies and methods to ensure the continuity of its healthcare services at all times; however, recent events (e.g. the 2007 summer floods and 2009/2010 snowfall) resulted in many cancelled operations and raised questions about the resilience of healthcare during major events. Emergency departments have a critical role to play as they often have to deal with large numbers of patients/injuries following major incidents. They also depend on many support services (e.g. ambulances) and infrastructure components (e.g. roads) which can consume significant resources and need their own strategies to ensure their continued operation. Given current financial pressures and the potential number of patients resulting from extreme weather events and other risks, emergency departments need to have effective management strategies aimed at improving efficiency and resilience.


This workshop aimed to bring together a multi-disciplinary group to share their experiences and discuss how the resilience of emergency services to major incidents and extreme weather events could be improved. It explored and discussed:

  • potential risks associated with extreme weather events and emergency departments;

  • potential impact of budget constraints on emergencies;

  • possibilities for more effective use of resources to better manage emergencies;

  • strategies for effective collaboration with other services; and

  • short- and long-term priorities for emergency services.

Management and participants’ profile

The workshop provided an excellent environment for learning, discussion and debate. Nine presentations were delivered by experts coming from different backgrounds and covering three major areas:

  1. 1.

    Acute hospitals and ambulance business continuity perspectives:

    • “Accepting business continuity as part of normal working conditions in a large acute trust” by Mr Steve Webb (Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust).

    • “Keeping an ambulance on the move”: Mr Gary Spiers and Mr Jamie Tomlin (East Midlands Ambulance Service).

    • “Emergency departments: a more flexible and integrated design approach” by Miss Federica Pascale (Universitá degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Italy).

  2. 2.

    International perspectives: learning from international practice:

    • “Hospital disaster preparedness planning in Turkey and emergency department disaster preparedness in Istanbul hospitals” by Dr Doğaç Niyazi Ozucelik (Ministry of Health Bakirkoy Research and Training Hospital Istanbul, Turkey).

    • 11.30 “Emergency management in the Western Pacific: status and challenges” by Dr Lester Sam Geroy (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and ex-Project Coordinator of WHO’s Hospitals Safe from Disasters in the Western Pacific Region).

  3. 3.

    Improving resilience through collaboration perspectives:

    • “HMG’s agenda for resilience and inter-agency collaboration” by Dr Simon Strickland (Civil Contingencies Secretariat, Cabinet Office).

    • “Achieving sustainable health care resilience through collaboration” by Mr Phil Storr (Resilience and Preparedness, NHS Operations, Department of Health).

    • “Cumbria floods 2009” by Mr Craig Mackey (Cumbria Constabulary).

    • “Maintaining water services during times of crisis” by Mr Martin Kane (Severn Trent Water Ltd).

Each session was followed by a panel discussion where attendees and presenters discussed, debated and argued issues related to the resilience of critical infrastructure, healthcare facilities and the impact on healthcare emergency response.

The discussion was enriched by the multi-disciplinary background of the 44 attendees who came nationally from local authorities, healthcare trusts, department of health, volunteering organisation, architectural firms, national agencies and academia, and internationally from hospitals, engineering firms and academia.

About the organisers

The Health and Care Infrastructure Research and Innovation Centre (HaCIRIC) is a partnership between existing research centres at Imperial College London and the Universities of Loughborough, Reading and Salford. Its work tackles the key challenges that face today’s health and care systems. In particular, it helps them to meet expanding demand while also controlling costs, improving quality and raising productivity to deliver a world class research to support better healthcare through better infrastructure.

Partnerships with national and international organisations and institutions, supported by funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), have combined to make HaCIRIC the world’s largest research programme in healthcare infrastructure.

About the authors

Andrew Price is a Professor of Project Management, Co-Director for HaCIRIC, Director of Postgraduate Studies with over 30 years design, construction and industry-focused research experience. His current research focuses on two core strands: the innovative planning, design and construction of healthcare infrastructure and facilities; and the planning, design and assessment of sustainable urban environments. Andrew Price can be contacted at:

Nebil Achour is Research Associate and Construction Project Management Work-based Distance Learning (CPM WBDL) Programme Coordinator, Loughborough University. His expertise is in the resilience of healthcare facilities to natural hazards and has developed an approach to assess hospital physical performance to earthquakes. His current research deals with improving the performance of healthcare infrastructure in major emergencies through better planning, coordination and collaboration with emergency services and stakeholders, improving the resilience of healthcare facilities through better design and implementation. Also he has experience in working with a team of researchers on improving the sustainability of infrastructure to reduce energy consumption through refurbishment and minimisation of construction waste. Nebil Achour can be contacted at:

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