Emergency and business continuity plan [Insert name of dental practice] [Insert date adopted]

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Emergency and business continuity plan

[Insert name of dental practice]

[Insert date adopted]

  1. Introduction

Business continuity management (BCM) is more than just simply possessing a plan. The Business Continuity Institute highlights five key stages:

  • Understand your business

  • Consider the relevant business continuity strategies

  • Decide, develop and implement your business continuity response

  • Embed business continuity into the organisation’s culture and

  • Test, maintain and record against your business continuity plan

The same approach is also recommended in the guidance to the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.

  1. Purpose

The Emergency and Business Continuity Plan is intended to help [insert name] practice overcome any unexpected incident to its premises, key personnel or to any important systems that it relies upon in its day to day operations. The aim is to ensure the business continuity of the practice in the event of an incident affecting its business and to provide the emergency planning team’s contact details in the event of a widespread incident affecting the community. Where relevant the plan should be read in conjunction with the practice’s Incident Management Procedures.

  1. Scope

The plan is designed to enable the practice to resume activities whether the situation is one of full or partial loss of key assets. As such, it covers a broad spectrum of potential situations that may impact on the ability of the practice to continue its normal business in the short or long term.
IMPORTANT: The template may not address every eventuality therefore care should be taken to read through the plan, tailor it to your business and add-in any other potential situations that may affect the running of your practice.

  1. Responsibilities

Under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, the NHS Commissioning organisation has a duty to ensure that those organisations delivering services on their behalf (i.e. contracted out services) or the capabilities that underpin those services, can be delivered to the extent required in the event of an emergency, e.g. flooding, pandemic flu, etc.
The plan holder [insert name or post] is responsible for co-ordinating any response under the plan. If the plan holder is unavailable, this duty will fall to the deputy plan holder, [insert name of deputy or post].
Copies of this document, together with copies of the insurance policy and other relevant documents are to be kept off the premises by both the plan holder and deputy plan holder.
Practice staff: The emergency and business continuity response arrangements within this plan are useless if the staff who are expected to implement them at the time of an emergency are unaware of them. To this end, all staff will be made aware of the plan as part of their induction training. If there are any significant changes to the plan that affect the way in which staff respond, these must be communicated to them.

  1. Priority order of services

Dental practices offer a range of services to their patients; the table below contains a list of the services that this practice provides in order of priority.
In the event of an emergency or business interruption the practice will endeavour to maintain services as usual. However, it may become evident that this is not possible, at this point the plan holder will decide which are the priority services that the practice must continue and which services will be reduced or stopped.
Any decisions made to reduce or stop services must be communicated to the NHS Commissioning organisation [insert relevant contact details].

Patient consultations

Home visits

Specialist clinics

[please add all the services you provide in priority to patient need]

  1. Loss of main premises

The address of the main premises of [insert name] practice is [insert address]. If the building becomes unavailable for use for any reason:

  • All partners and staff who are already at work, together with patients and visitors, should be evacuated in line with fire procedures;

  • Immediate arrangements must be made to occupy suitable alternative accommodation, sending staff home as appropriate.

The following options have been considered, negotiated and are available for the practice to use:

  • Insert alternative - e.g. other practice premises [add details of contact for this site];

  • Insert alternative - e.g. buddy dentist premises [add details of contact for this site];

  • Insert alternative [add details of contact for this site];

  • Longer term options include: Portakabins in the car park at [insert name of practice]. This would need to be agreed with the NHS Commissioning organisation, with the Council and with insurers.

Using the contact list in Appendix 1, all partners and staff who are still due to come in to work must be contacted immediately to advise them:

  • Whether they should proceed to the agreed temporary premises;

  • Whether they should remain at home – if so, any instructions regarding home working should be relayed.

As soon as it is possible to access the clinical system remotely, arrangements should be made to contact patients with outstanding appointments to either cancel them or advise them of the temporary premises as appropriate.

Practices will need to contact their IT supplier regarding restoration of their data. A contact list of other people and organisations can be found at the end of this document in Appendix 2.

  1. Loss of computer system/essential data

The loss of either computer hardware or the core software must be notified immediately to the supplier on [insert contact details]. The equipment and software will ultimately be replaced, but short term, it has been agreed that the following will be made available at [insert name of temporary accommodation]:

  • PC’s and printers to enable business continuity;

  • Access to a photocopier;

  • Access to a fax machine;

  • The facility to scan and attach post [this would not be classed as urgent to ensure business continuity in the short term].

Computer back up tapes are made daily to safeguard essential data and are encrypted and securely kept off site and verified.

The practice has [insert number] laptops with secure remote access to the clinical system. These may be available to facilitate immediate access if the server is unaffected.

  1. Recording data

If there is a failure in the IT system or any stand alone computer, for important data, the staff will revert to a paper backup system to capture that data so this can be recorded on the system retrospectively. Templates for recording information when the system is unavailable can be found [insert location]. Identify all the data that you input, where there is a need to capture this information while the system is unavailable, produce a template and have these available in a designated place. Once information is captured on the paper templates it is important that these are kept securely until they can be entered onto the computer IT system. Once they have been entered and validated the paper documents should be securely disposed of.

  1. Loss of telephone system

The surgery has [insert number] telephone numbers as follows:

  • Reception;

  • Practice manager direct line;

  • Fax line;

  • Surgery line 1;

  • Surgery line 2;

  • Surgery line 3, etc.

The telephone system is rented from [insert name], whilst the lines are supplied by BT.

It has been agreed that the following will be made available at [insert name of practice] in the event of a disaster:

  • Access to a fax machine;

  • The use of [insert number] phones.

For a short term solution, calls to the practice can be diverted to another line within ½ hour by means of a call to BT, for example to:

  • the fax line;

  • any alternative telephone in the surgery [insert location from list above]; or

  • one of the owners’ mobile telephones.

Where it is necessary to use the temporary accommodation agreed [insert name of temporary premises], calls to the practice can be diverted there.

In the event of a simple fault on the system:

  • This should be reported first to BT in case it is a problem with their lines and then to [insert name of provider] in case it is a fault with the telephones in the surgery;

  • If the fault cannot be rectified quickly, arrangements can be made with BT for calls to be diverted as set out above.

If the electricity supply fails [delete as appropriate]:

  • There is a battery back-up for the answer-phone;

  • The telephone system is dependent upon the electricity supply;

  • There is a “power fail” telephone socket in [insert location] to be used if the power does fail.

  1. Loss of electricity supply

In the event of a power failure within the building:

  • Check the main fuse box, which is situated [insert] you may need a torch for this and this can be found [insert where];

  • In the event of a power failure, first check the trip switches in the fuse box; and then

  • Contact [insert name of electrician or power supplier] for emergency assistance. Ask if they are able to give an estimated length of time the power will be off, for planning purposes;

  • A decision should be made as to whether the surgery business can be continued safely, or if relocation to an alternative site will be required to maintain business.

 The following systems will not work:

  • Computers;

  • Telephones (except the power fail socket in the [insert location]);

  • Heating [delete if not the case];

  • Clinical refrigerators;

  • Diagnostic equipment [delete if not the case];

  • Lighting

  • Dental unit and light

  • Compressor

  • Autoclave etc

The computers in the surgeries and other parts of the building should be switched off at the sockets, to prevent damage when the power is restored. The file server may have an Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) attached and in this case may not need to be switched off.

If the power is not going to be restored for some period of time, consideration should be given to finding alternative storage facilities for any items in the refrigerators. Do not open the fridge door. Check the clinical governance procedures for refrigerated medications [insert where these can be found]. An agreement for storage has been made with [insert name of buddy surgery and contact details or agreed site]. You will need a cool box with ice packs to transport the items in.
If the heating is lost, assess the effect of the loss of heating related to the time of year and general temperature, including forecast temperature. If it is felt that the business will be affected by loss of heating contact [if the premises are rented, contact the landlord/owner to request they provide alternative heating. If the premises are owned by the practice, look in the local directory for companies who hire out gas cylinder heating equipment].

  1. Loss of gas supply/gas heating

In the event of a gas leak in the building:

  • Turn off the gas using the shut off valve which is located in the gas meter cupboard [insert location];

  • Call the National Gas Emergency number (0800 111 999) for emergency assistance;

  • Consider cancelling all surgeries until such time as the problem is resolved, depending on circumstances.

Failure of gas fired heating:

  • Contact [insert name of contact];

  • The boiler supplies all the hot water as well as heating – antiseptic hand gel is available in the [insert] for hand washing etc;

  • Electric heaters should be used as an alternative source of heat.

  1. Loss of water supply

  • The stop valve for the water can be found [insert];

  • You may need a wrench to turn this tap if it has ceased up;

  • There is always a cut off tap in the street and this is located [insert location];

  • Ascertain timescales for repair from the supplier [insert name and contact details];

  1. Loss of security systems

  • The practice is protected by alarms and procedures in the event of a fire, break in or incident;

  • All systems are regularly serviced by [insert name], to whom any systems failures should be reported immediately;

  • Consider closure of the practice if the security of staff or patients is compromised.

  1. Fire

On discovering a fire or on suspicion of a fire, raise the alarm by [insert details of practice alarm operation] and call 999, clearly stating the full address of the premises as [insert full address including post code].
In the event of the fire alarm sounding, this will be a [insert description of fire alarm sound, i.e. bell/siren etc] all staff have a responsibility to evacuate the premises ensuring that all patients and visitors are assisted via the exits identified in the table below. All persons will congregate at the fire evacuation assembly point [insert designated area] where the [insert post title] will check against the staff list and visitors log book that all persons have been evacuated.
If you suspect that there are persons still inside, do not re-enter the premises.
On arrival of the Fire and Rescue Service, [insert post] will greet them and give the following information:

  • Location of fire or suspected fire;

  • Persons suspected of still being inside, with possible location;

  • Location of any inflammable materials / oxygen or other gas cylinders;

  • Plan of interior of the premises [if available].

Location of exits [insert rows as necessary]

Area of premises

Nearest identified exit

  1. Loss of essential supplies

During a major emergency there may be interruptions in the supply of consumables and equipment required by the practice. This may be primarily because of an incident, i.e. a supplier factory fire, or disruption to the transport network such as in a fuel crisis.
In such an event, the [insert post] will be responsible for assessing the impact on the business of the practice.
If there is need to obtain supplies from another source the options are:

  • Mutual aid from another dental practice or the NHS Commissioning organisation;

  • Contact another supplier [either in supplier list or local directory].

Mutual aid supplies [insert rows as necessary]

Supplies required

Available from

Contact details

A list of supplier names and contact details is in Appendix 2.

  1. Fuel shortages

In the event of a fuel shortage the ability to maintain services may be affected either by staff being unable to carry out services such as home visits, or being unable to get to the practice.
Each NHS Commissioning organisation will have a fuel crisis contingency plan; the arrangements for obtaining fuel will be communicated by the NHS Commissioning organisation’s communications team [insert name].

  1. Loss of dental records

Paper dental records are stored in cabinets in [insert location], and are protected from any untoward event.
However, [insert number]% are summarised onto the clinical system and could be reconstructed from data held on the computer system if necessary. The stationery required to reconstruct paper dental records can be obtained from [insert name or company], who may also be able to produce address labels with name, address DOB and NHS number (where available) for each patient.
[Insert name or company] should also be able to supply a printout of all the patients registered to the Practice.

  1. Incapacity of registered dentists

Where incapacity or death has occurred during the course of business, the plan holder is responsible for co-ordinating the emergency response and ensuring that next of kin is informed.
The NHS Commissioning organisation and [insert others as necessary] will be notified as soon as reasonable practicable by the plan holder (or deputy) if of one or more of the dentists becomes incapacitated or dies. This notification will be carried out immediately if the practice is unable to provide dental services due to the incapacity or death, e.g. where it is a single-handed practice. In such circumstances the NHS Commissioning organisation has a responsibility under the GDS/PDS regulations for arranging completion of any patient’s treatment that cannot be continued.
If there is more than one provider named in the GDS/PDS contract the remaining partners will assume responsibility for the incapacitated/deceased dentist’s patients.

  1. Incapacity of staff

Where incapacity or death has occurred during the course of business, the plan holder is responsible for co-ordinating the emergency response and ensuring that next of kin is informed.
No formal arrangements are in place to cover the incapacity or death of members of staff except that wherever possible, other members of staff will be asked to cover for the absent staff member.
In addition, the plan holder should:

  • Approach the NHS Commissioning organisation for assistance with short-term staffing, e.g. resource sharing;

  • Liaise with other practices or the Local Dental Committee (LDC) to negotiate assistance as appropriate;

  • Contact appropriate locum agencies;

  • Where temporary accommodation has been taken up at [insert name of practice], implement the agreement made regarding sharing of staff;

  • If the impact of one or a number of staff being incapacitated is such that the practice is unable to continue services – [insert post] will be responsible for assessing the capabilities of the practices and possibly which services will be reduced or through pre-arranged mutual aid arrangements be diverted to other practices on a temporary basis.

Mutual aid arrangements with other practices [insert rows as necessary]

Mutual aid staff available

Dental practice

Contact details

Registered dentist

Nursing staff

Management and admin staff

  1. Redirection of mail

In the event that mail is unable to be delivered to the main surgery building, it should be re-directed to [insert address]. To initiate this you will need to contact Royal Mail and seek timescales on how long this would take to activate and cancel.


  1. Communicating with patients

In the event that a business interruption is so severe that alternative arrangements for the provision of dental care need to be communicated to the patients of the practice, this will be done in collaboration with the NHS Commissioning organisation.
In the event that support from the NHS Commissioning organisation is required in publicising the alternative arrangements [insert position] will contact the NHS Commissioning organisation [insert relevant team] on [insert number] at the earliest possible moment to allow as much time as possible to achieve communication with patients.
If patient knowledge of contingency plans in advance would help to reduce the effects of business interruption, arrangements within this plan (e.g. location of pre-agreed temporary accommodation) will be provided within patient information regarding the practice.
It is important to maintain communication with patients during any period of business interruption; the aim of the practice will be to reassure the patients with relevant information on the progress made in returning to business as usual.

  1. Approval

This plan has been approved by the undersigned and will be reviewed and updated at least every six months and every time there is a change in suppliers, contact numbers, dental practitioners or plan holder/deputy.


Date approved

Review date

Appendix 1 - Internal contacts
Activation of the plan [insert rows as necessary]


Position or name

Contact details

Responsible for (the practice may want to allocate responsibilities for different sections of the plan)

Plan holder



Partners and staff including locums and temps contact list [insert rows as necessary]



Contact details

Appendix 2 - Key external contacts
NHS Commissioning organisation [insert rows as necessary]

Reason for contact


Contact details

Major disaster

Communications team

Major disaster

Emergency Planning team

Reduction in practice services

Commissioning team

Loss of patient records

Commissioning and Communications teams

Advice on business continuity plan and other IG issues

Information Governance lead

Local Dental Committee [insert rows as necessary]

Reason for contact


Contact details

Major disaster

NHS Dental Services [insert rows as necessary]

Reason for contact


Contact details

Major disaster

Utilities and services [insert rows as necessary]



Contact details

IT systems






Insurance company


Laboratory results

Local acute trust(s)

Tradesmen [insert rows as necessary]



Contact details



Heating engineer





Security/alarm supplier

Suppliers of products / drugs etc [insert rows as necessary]




Contact details

Dental equipment

Dental equipment

Dental equipment

Dental equipment

Dental laboratory

Dental consumables

Dental consumables

Dental consumables

Dental consumables





Dental stationery

FP17, FP17O, FP17W, PR, PRW f forms

Dental stationery

Self-certification forms for staff use

Dental stationery

Dental stationery

Office stationery

Appointment cards

Office stationery

Information leaflets

Office stationery

Office stationery

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