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'Nurses, doctors and paramedics are often running towards the danger'


A major incident is something all organisations have planned and prepared for, but hope they will never have to contend with. 

Yet, internationally, so many of our hospitals around the globe are doing so these days, as a result of the wave of terrorist attacks that are striking at the heart of major cities, leaving large numbers of severely injured casualties and fatalities.

Multiple pile-ups and road traffic accidents, public buildings collapsing and explosions all can happen and disrupt a normally busy hospital’s day and throw the best-rehearsed plans into mayhem – and yet staff are able to prioritise, cope under pressure, deliver to a new plan and care for people under the most extreme circumstances.

“Often nurses, doctors and paramedics are running to the scene of terror”

But of course, being on hand to care for victims in the midst of a terrorist attack throws in yet another challenge to be overcome – fear. Like the other emergency services, often nurses, doctors and paramedics are running to the scene of terror, chaos and danger, while the public are running from it.

So no words can pay enough tribute to the skill and bravery of nurses and other healthcare professionals in incidents such as the bombing in Manchester this week, and in Westminster a couple of months ago. These healthcare professionals deserve our gratitude, our respect and our thanks for their selflessness, and for their ability to provide care, comfort and compassion when people need it most.

“These healthcare professionals deserve our gratitude”

It is difficult to comprehend how a major incident can affect a hospital and its staff, but having listened to Carol Porter at our Nursing Times Directors’ Congress a couple of years ago – who was chief nurse at the New York hospital at the time of the September 11 attacks – it is clear that nothing can prepare you for a tragedy on that scale. And yet time and time again, we see that nurses, doctors and other allied health professionals, somehow manage to process that, and find a way to do their jobs, and do them well.

That takes skill, courage, dedication and something we don’t talk about that much – grit. And it deserves our recognition, applause and respect.


Readers' comments (3)

  • Thank you

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  • I was a patient in two Trusts within Co. Durham and was abused by staff.
    I complained to Trusts' Executives who condoned all. I contacted the HSE re: unsafe mobilising which put myself and staff in a dangerous situation. I was told to contact Public Concern at Work but it said go to HSE. For the benefit of patients and any students or staff who may feel unable to say "NO" to other staff, senior or not I was concerned to be cared. What did I get out of it - greater disappointment and a dawning realisation that more money is wasted on a multitude of Organisations who do not refer cases to one another for advice. It appears to me that the NHS would be better served by having one Organisation for all complaints, at least this would reduce costs and perhaps ensure that the relevant dept. receives a complaint sooner rather than too late! The worst cases of abuse go uninvestigated simply because patients are too traumatised to speak.!

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  • NT there seems to be an awful lot of articles people can't comment on at the moment. I understand there is a subscription cost for membership but the nature of some articles are so important for comment to not allow is just restrictive of need

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  • Hi Anonymous,<br/><br/>Thank you for commenting. Where possible we make articles available for free to encourage discussion, however where an article is exclusive or has taken a large amount of time to produce, for example the result of an investigation, we use a paywall to encourage users to subscribe in order to access this content. As much as we would love our work to be widely available, if we gave no reason to subscribe we would very quickly go out of business!<br/><br/>This particular article, and all our opinion articles, is free to access and therefore to comment. Users do need an account to use the Nursing Times website, but can sign up for free guest access.<br/><br/>I hope this answers your question but please let me know if not.<br/><br/>Kind regards,<br/>Fran Entwistle - Digital Engagement Editor

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