Resilience strategies of healthcare facilities: present and future

2017-01-11T14:59:17Z (GMT) by Andrew Price Nebil Achour
Recent statistics suggest an increased number of natural disasters around the world with climate change and global warming believed to be the main cause, thus resulting in more floods, gales, droughts and infectious diseases. Although the number of fatalities has reduced since the start of the twentieth century, the number of affected people requiring an immediate and efficient healthcare service, which was not always available, has remarkably increased. The frequent discontinuity of medical services during major disasters encouraged the World Health Organisation (WHO) to appeal not to let hospitals be victims of emergencies and it launched a global campaign, Hospitals Safe from Disasters. Literature reveals that the resilience of healthcare facilities depends on many internal and external factors. The problem does not only relate to developing countries and the events of recent years have demonstrated the fragility of the United Kingdom (UK) healthcare infrastructure. For example: the 2005 Carlisle floods affected all emergency authorities (i.e. fire, police and health establishments); the 2007 Summer Flooding resulted in hospitals being isolated and even evacuated; and the long periods of snow at the start of 2010 added another type of problem that needs more effective emergency planning. This paper aims to: explore UK healthcare resilience strategies, define gaps and provide suggestions based on international best practice. The results show that despite the emergency planning in the UK, many issues could be avoided if international experience was reviewed carefully.