Public services across Sussex join forces in “mammoth effort” to respond to Covid-19 pandemic

Sussex Assistant Chief Constable Dave Miller

In an unprecedented effort, public services across Sussex are coming together to protect and support the communities of Sussex in the face of Covid-19.

Sussex Resilience Forum (SRF), a multi-agency partnership which includes all emergency services, local authorities and other agencies, is working closely with the military and NHS to co-ordinate the local response to Covid-19 on behalf of the Government.

Drawing on well-rehearsed plans, staff from across the public sector are working side-by-side to ensure that services are being delivered in the best interests of the public, with special attention given to the most vulnerable in communities.

Key areas of focus through the crisis so far have included co-ordinating the work of volunteers, gaining additional supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) and ensuring Sussex’s most vulnerable have the help they need.

The SRF is currently chaired by Sussex Police, with Assistant Chief Constable Dave Miller the lead.

“We stand united, as public services across Sussex, in support of our NHS colleagues as they work around the clock to provide vital care as we face this public health emergency,” he said.

“Across the system, the SRF’s multi-agency teams are ensuring that vital resources reach those who need them most, and that the information is available to address the complex and urgent issues that have arisen from Covid-19.

“It truly is a mammoth effort and local services are working together in a way and on a scale never before seen, absolutely committed to saving lives and protecting the NHS in Sussex.”

The SRF is one of 38 Local Resilience Forums (LRFs) across the UK which works with Government, through the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the Cabinet Office, to plan, prepare, respond and recover from major incidents and catastrophic emergencies, to protect local communities in Sussex.

It brings public agencies together with other key partners, in this case the military and volunteer networks, to protect and save lives, minimise the impact of the incident and help local communities return to normality.

In Sussex, the forum is co-ordinating plans in a number of key areas including support for the vulnerable, managing the voluntary response, creating additional capacity in healthcare and in managing deaths, logistics and supply and public information.

In the past two weeks, the SRF has co-ordinated:

  • Support for those most vulnerable to Covid-19 – some 35,000 people in Sussex of 1.5 million nationwide – required to stay safe at home.
  • Delivery of ‘stop-gap’ food parcels to vulnerable resident unable to rely on family of friends. Non-perishable items were delivered by central Government to depots in Brighton and Hove and Crawley, before being batched up and delivered to door-steps by vetted volunteers.
  • The creation of a county-wide network of ‘Community Hubs’ for every local authority area – putting members of the public in need of help in touch with local volunteers.
  • Provision of housing for the homeless community.

The SRF has recently received a one-off delivery from Government of some additional PPE for the local care sector before national supply chains takeover, which is currently being distributed by local authorities.

Over the coming days and weeks, the SRF will continue to plan for and respond to challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, to protect local communities.

“We are all in this together and we all have our part to play to protect the NHS and save lives,” said ACC Miller.

“The public response in Sussex so far has been magnificent but, as we approach the time when we expect the number of cases in Sussex – and across the UK – to increase, and the pressure on NHS and other services begin to rise, it is vital that we all continue to follow the Government guidance on self-isolation and social distancing.”

For the latest updates on the Resilience Forum, please visit www.sussex.police.uk/srf.

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