UL Hospitals Group Produces Major Emergency Plan: November 2016

UL Hospitals has become the first group in the country to produce a Major Emergency Plan.

A major emergency is defined as any incident, usually with little or no warning, which overwhelms the ability of an organisation to respond.

Major emergency planning is built into key public services in Ireland and interagency plans - involving collaboration between health authorities, local authorities and An Garda Siochana at a regional and national level - have long been in existence.

Major emergency plans provide staff with roles and responsibilities in the event of the declaration of a major emergency. Individual hospitals have long had them in place but following the formation of hospital groups, it is now a requirement to deliver a plan at group level.

“This document provides staff across UL Hospitals with a plan of action in the event of a major emergency being declared and is also a guide on how to implement that plan in a structured, co-ordinated and timely manner,” commented Group CEO Colette Cowan in formally launching the plan.

“It is aligned with the regional and national major emergency plans within the health services – including our colleagues in HSE MidWest Community Healthcare - and with the equivalent interagency plans with An Garda Siochana and local authorities. Critical to the plan is that it takes an ‘all hazards’ approach. That means the plan can be applied across a range of different scenarios that, while we must hope they never happen, we must nonetheless prepare and plan for,” said Ms Cowan.

“Some such emergencies are universal, whether it might be a major transport accident; an explosion; a building collapse; a pandemic and so on. The plan also assesses risks specific to this region, a region where we have an international airport, where we have large crowds gathering for sporting and other events; and a region where we have power plants, chemical plants, fuel depots and other sites defined as hazardous under the Seveso directive.”

“We are delighted to be the first group in the country to produce a Major Emergency Plan and we thank Prof Niall O’Higgins, our chairman, and all the members of the UL Hospitals Group board for recognising its importance and approving the plan. We owe a special debt of gratitude to one former and one current member of staff, Frank Keane and Lorraine Varley, for delivering the plan,” said Ms Cowan.

“The nature of unforeseen events is such that it would be foolish to claim to be 100% prepared for them. But I am glad to welcome the fact that UL Hospitals has as robust and detailed a document as possible that will not only serve the staff of UL Hospitals Group well but will also assure everyone in the MidWest region that when the worst happens, it will bring out the best in us.”


Caption: Paschal Diviney, Regional Chief Emergency Management Officer, HSE West; UL Hospitals Group CEO Colette Cowan launch the plan with Lorraine Varley and Frank Keane, who led the project

Last updated on: 28 / 11 / 2016