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Continuity Planning

RiskAlthough major incidents that affect the infrastructure of a dental practice are rare, it is advisable to have a continuity plan in place to enable the dental team to respond to a major incident such as fire, contamination of the workplace, severe weather, bombs or significant loss of personnel and/or resources.

A continuity plan details the actions and resources required following a major incident to help minimise the impact of such an incident on the service to patients.

Before a continuity plan is written, it is helpful to think through what resources and documentation, including contact details (e.g. staff, suppliers), can be obtained or collated (see Continuity Planning Tool May 2010 template (Word)) and where these can be safely stored so that they can be accessed easily in the event of a major incident.

It is not possible to work out all the specific details of how to respond to every incident. However, it is possible to identify possible incidents and put in place systems to help manage them if they occur.

Assign a member(s) of staff who will assess the impact of an incident, decide whether to activate a continuity plan and manage recovery of the service.

Before writing a continuity plan (see Continuity Planning Tool May 2010 template (Word)):

  • identify the range of incidents that are likely to affect the operation of the dental practice [e.g. total loss of premises (e.g. as a result of fire); utility failure (e.g. telephones, water, electricity, gas); IT failure (e.g. server failure, work station failure, computer virus); dental equipment failure; severe weather or staff illness];
  • identify the operational functions that are likely to be affected by these incidents;
  • identify the resources, actions and alternative arrangements that might be required to deal effectively with a major incident;
  • compile a list of relevant contact details of staff, suppliers, Health Board, etc.;
  • identify a suitable storage place(s) for resources and documentation.

For each incident, list the actions to be taken, including who will do what, in a written continuity plan to enable an efficient recovery of the dental practice into use.

Ensure staff are aware of the continuity plans and know who to contact in the event of an incident.

Consider the use of an emergency box to store continuity plans, other emergency plans, relevant contact details (e.g. staff, suppliers, Health Board), torches, batteries, a radio, replacement fuse plans, notepads, pens, materials for improvised signage (e.g. laminated sheets, waterproof markers, Blutack), a space blanket, a phone and a charger.