Background The 2009 Flu pandemic underlined to health care providers the importance of an effective business continuity plan (Hopkin, 2018), and was further highlighted by Brexit and COVID-19. Organisations face increasing ranges of external risks and threats (Copeman, 2017), showing the need for competent risk management. Business continuity planning (BCP) is an integral part of the risk management process, and hospices need to be able to actively demonstrate their resilience.
Aim A review of current resilience was undertaken, with the aim of developing and implementing a fit for purpose Business Continuity Plan (NHS Commissioning Board, 2013), which could be tested against multiple scenarios, so the organisation’s ‘state of preparedness’ for a range of service disruptive scenarios can be regularly challenged and improved.
Method A workshop was organised to facilitate discussion around our current resilience and identify gaps of existing arrangements. A new BCP policy was created along with a BCP implementation plan. Focussed team discussions were undertaken, where each service explored their key functions and highlighted necessary emergency supply items, which were procured and made available. Familiarisation training was incorporated into team meetings organisation-wide. External critical friends were invited to review the new documentation and provide feedback to further improve our BCP processes and procedures.
Results The organisation’s new Business Continuity Plan is now operational and has been reviewed and updated as a result of COVID-19. Our journey has been shared with hospices to help improve overall hospice awareness of risk and resilience, and promote best practice within and without our own organisation.
Conclusion The BCP review created a more aware and dynamic organisational approach to risk management. Furthermore, as funding and workforce challenges continue to cast uncertainty for hospices, our organisation now recognises resilience is an ongoing, fluid process which requires continual review and challenge to remain effective, and a co-ordinated and multi-disciplinary team approach is required to assure an effective and practical BCP.
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