Agencies across Gwent are working together after the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak triggered “major incident arrangements”.
The Gwent Local Resilience Forum (GLRF) is a partnership of agencies across the region working together to prepare and to respond to major emergencies.
A statement from the GLRF said they were working in support of a larger UK government, Welsh Government and NHS strategy in response to the pandemic.
The statement says: “Covid-19 has been declared a pandemic and has triggered major incident arrangements locally.
“To coordinate the response, the GLRF is meeting regularly and has set up multi-agency reporting structures.
“Several work groups are working towards agreed local objectives, to: support the NHS and wider health system, minimise the spread of the virus, protect our most vulnerable residents and to maintain essential local public services.”
What is the GLRF?
GLRF is responsible for informing Gwent residents about the difference levels of resilience.
The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 requires local responders and other appropriate groups to work together so that they are better informed and prepared if something were to happen locally or nationally.
The GLRF allows responders access to a forum to consult, collaborate and disclose information with each other to facilitate planning and response to emergencies.
The GLRF has a lower tier coordination group which has members from multi-agency organisations and emergency planning officers who are trained in emergency contingency planning.
Representatives from the GLRF also represent Gwent on a national level at the Wales Resilience Forum (WRF) chaired by the Welsh Government first minister.
The GLRF meets quarterly and is chaired by the chief constable.
Who makes up the GLRF partnership?
- Gwent Police
- South Wales Fire and Rescue Service
- Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust
- Aneurin Bevan University Health Board
- Public Health Wales
- Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council
- Caerphilly County Borough Council
- Monmouthshire County Council
- Newport City Council
- Torfaen County Borough Council
- Natural Resources Wales
- Maritime and Coastguard Agency
- Welsh Government
How has the GLRF been preparing for an outbreak like coronavirus?
The GLRF, along with other local resilience forums, is required to publish a community risk register where they assess the likelihood of certain risks occurring in the area.
The risk register lists “pandemic influenza” as one of the main risks that has “the largest potential to have significant impact on residents and businesses should they occur.”
The risk register recognises that such a pandemic could lead to a higher than usual number of deaths, a stretched health and social care system, a high level of staff absenteeism and a deviation from normal daily routines.
The risk register says the GLRF is preparing to:
- Work together to plan for the management of the increased demand on the NHS and social care
- Vaccinate with the newly developed vaccine once it’s available
- Raise public awareness in the community
- Distribute antiviral medication to those at risk
- Manage the higher than normal level of fatalities
- Maintain and further develop organisations’ multi-agency pandemic flu plans.