Major emergency planning exercise held at Guy's and St Thomas'

Thursday 3 March 2016

GSTT Unified Response 1

Guy’s and St Thomas’ has taken part in a major emergency planning exercise based on the scenario of a tower block collapsing at Waterloo station and causing mass casualties.

During Exercise Unified Response, volunteers played the role of casualties with fake injuries brought to the Emergency Department (A&E) at St Thomas’ Hospital following the collapse.

Dozens of staff from across the Trust participated in the exercise and responded as they would to a real-life major incident. The volunteer casualties – many with traumatic, life-threatening injuries – received treatment from teams in A&E, critical care, surgery, imaging, and other specialist services.

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. The Trust has previously been assessed by NHS England as having high quality emergency planning in place.

Dr Simon Steddon, Acting Chief Operating Officer at Guy’s and St Thomas’, says: “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. This is incredibly useful for allowing us to learn and to continue to improve our response.

“I’m proud to say that our staff performed brilliantly under the pressure. As an organisation we know how best to manage a major incident so that even when services are under immense strain we can ensure top quality care for patients.”

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

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.

Last updated: March 2016

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