What is Business Continuity Management (BCM)?

Business Continuity

Business Continuity (BC) is a holistic management process that identifies potential threats to an organisation and the impacts to business operations those threats, if realised, might cause.

It provides a framework for building organisational resilience with the capability of an effective response that safeguards the interests of its key stakeholders, reputation, brand and value creating activities.

So, that is the BC professional definition but what does that mean to us here at EEAST?

Essentially, Business Continuity and the plans developed from the BCM process is designed to enable us to continue to provide a safe and responsive service to our patients in the event of any disruption to the organisation.

For example, when we see an increase in demand, we use our Surge Management Plan to ensure that we can still provide a service to our most critical patients; this is one type of business continuity plan.

Back in May a short survey was done to ascertain what staff and managers knew about BCM in EEAST, here are the results.

  • 88%, of those surveyed, had heard of business continuity but only 76% knew what it is.
  • When asked what business continuity relates to, 82% said it was the plan to help core services run following any threat to the ability of an organisation to do so, while 8% did not know what it relates to.
  • While 84% felt we all have a responsibility to be aware of BC plans and keep them up to date, 39% felt it was someone elses problem and they didn’t think about it often.
  • When asked what BC means to the organisation, 90% said it’s the way the organisation plans to continue delivery of its services during a disruption, while 10% felt it was only for managers to worry about and a tick box exercise.
  • When asked who is responsible for BC here at EEAST, 76% said everyone while 24% said the executive team and managers.
  • When asked where staff would find their department’s Business Continuity plan, the highest answer was ‘unknown’.

Over the coming months it is the intention of the BC Manager to raise awareness of what BCM is, why we have it, where plans can be found, who’s responsible for BC within the Trust (quick hint, it is not just Managers and the Executive team) and how all this affects you as individuals.

So, what types of threats should we at EEAST be considering and preparing for? Remember the Beast from the East?

Did you know that 50cms of snow fell on high ground between 22nd February and the 5th March 2018? Some rural areas experienced lows of -12 degrees celcius. When you look at it from a weather perspective it does not seem to be that extreme, especially if you are tucked up at home with power to have your radiators turned up, plenty of hot water and no urgent need to venture out into the snow and the cold.

However; what if you had a power cut and couldn’t heat the house, what if your pipes froze because of having no heat and what if you had to go out in your car on icy, snow covered roads which had not been gritted. What if you had to go to work but your children were unable to go to school because the teachers couldn’t get in, what if your elderly relative was taken ill and had to wait for a long time for an ambulance because the Ambulance Service hadn’t got suitable Business Continuity Plans in place to ensure they could still reach their patients.

During the Beast from the East, thousands of schools and shops were forced to close for several days, road accidents and closures led to congestion and some drivers remained waiting for over 12 hours before being able to move. The AA estimated there were over 8000 collisions, including major incidents on the A1 in Northumberland. Some rural towns and villages were cut off for days and unable to access food.

Here at EEAST we saw a large volume of calls and responded to a large number of patients. We enacted several plans and continued to deliver our core services to our patients.

If you are interested to learn more about BCM, please watch out for further articles or contact our BC Manager at eeast.bc@eastamb.nhs.uk

Published 12th September 2019

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