The impact of the coronavirus pandemic in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent has prompted the county’s public and emergency services to declare a major incident.
Staffordshire Resilience Forum (SRF) is made up of multiple agencies who work together to plan and prepare for localised incidents and civil emergencies.
The members of the SRF have agreed to declare the coronavirus a major incident in response to the unprecedented demand for multi-agency activity, which is beyond the scope of business-as usual operations and in recognition of the level-4 incident declared by the NHS.
The focus of the SRF is to work together to prioritise the continued delivery of essential services, to support people who are most affected and to seek to preserve life and minimise the impact of the coronavirus on our local communities and businesses.
Dr Richard Harling, the Director for Health and Care at Staffordshire County Council is chairing the Strategic Coordinating Group, which is overseeing the multi-agency response.
He said: “Everyone is now aware that we are facing a unique challenge, with the Government addressing the nation on a daily basis.
“Declaring a Major Incident now is a way of making sure all public sector agencies and our partners can work together, share resources where necessary, and better anticipate and deal with challenges.
“It is something we prepare for and practice regularly. It does not confer any special powers or change the roles of the different organisations involved.
“This is a sensible step as we know from other countries that dealing with Coronavirus/COVID-19 is going to take time and persistence.
“Pooling resources is important because we know we will face challenges, particularly the likelihood that more staff will be self-isolating in the coming weeks and that will strain resources. We will be better able to do things jointly, such as and informing people in relation to any particular localised issues.
“Working together is something that we do all the time in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent and the action we are now taking is simply aimed at making that process even more joined-up.
“It is important that people continue following the advice from Public Health England and the Government.”