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Nurses take part in major emergency planning exercise

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Nursing staff from Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust took part in a major emergency planning exercise earlier this week in London.

Volunteers with fake injuries were brought to the accident and emergency department at St Thomas’ in the imagined scenario of a tower block collapsing at Waterloo station and causing mass casualties.

“Participating in the exercise was an extremely valuable opportunity for us”

Rob Nichols

Dozens of staff from across the trust participated in Exercise Unified Response, responding as if it was a real-life major incident.

The exercise enabled Guy’s and St Thomas’ to rehearse its procedures for dealing with a major incident and to test its level of preparedness, said the trust, which has previously been assessed by NHS England as having high quality emergency planning in place.

Rob Nichols, the trust’s senior site nurse practitioner, said: “We take our emergency planning duties very seriously and participating in the exercise was an extremely valuable opportunity for us to rehearse our response to a mass-casualty incident.

“The scenario was undoubtedly challenging and a robust test of our preparedness,” he said. “This is incredibly useful for allowing us to learn and to continue to improve our response.”

The exercise was managed so that all patient services were run as normal and no hospital activity was disrupted, the trust noted.

Exercise Unified Response is running from 29 February to 3 March and involves a range of different agencies and emergency response teams.

Four separate venues in London as well as a disused power station in Dartford, Kent, are being used and a total of 2,000 volunteers have participated in the exercise.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Must have been a rather quiet day on A&E then, suprised they found the time! It always saddens me when they start to roll out the doom and gloom scenarios. I think fear and expectation invites tragedy...so dont go there.

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