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2 March 2020

NHSE/I asks NHS organisations to establish COVID-19 Incident Management Teams

Introduced by

NHS England and Improvement

Targeted at

NHS organisations


Letter on 2 March 2020

Stated aims

To begin to manage some patients within wider infectious disease units and, if the number of cases grows, in all acute units. Actions for acute care providers to support the continued response in the event of a significant escalation in COVID-19 cases


The letter on 'COVID-19 NHS preparedness and response' covers what is required of NHS organisations as national and international preparations for the COVID-19 outbreak are 'stepped up'. It confirms that NHS England and Improvement (NHSE/I) has established an Incident Management Team (National) with an operational Incident Coordination Centre (and NHS Regions have also established operational COVID-19 Incident Coordination Centres). The letter asks all NHS organisations to establish a COVID-19 Incident Management Team led by an Accountable Emergency Officer (AEO). It sets out what is required of the AEO, including to ensure that Public Health England (PHE) and NHSE/I guidance is cascaded to relevant staff. It also sets out specific actions for acute care providers, who are asked to work on the assumption that they will need to look after COVID-19 cases and to consider how to increase capacity.

In addition, there are specific actions for ambulance trusts, community and mental health providers, secure and detained estate, and sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs)/integrated care systems (ICSs), clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and commissioning support units (CSUs). Annexes detail a requirement to establish case detection for intensive care admissions and guidance on decontaminating NHS 111 coronavirus pods.


NHSE/I letter