Emergency nursing during major incident plans

Hospitals expect a major incident plan to be implemented every three years, but following recent events in London and Manchester, such plans have been activated five times in three months.

When the extent of the Grenfell Tower fire became clear, nearby St Mary’s Hospital activated a major incident plan – for the third time in three months.

As the major trauma centre for north west London, the hospital also cared for casualties from the two terrorist attacks in the capital – in Westminster and Borough Market.

Recent months have seen an intense period of major incidents for a number of emergency departments (EDs), both in the capital and in Manchester, where 22 people died and more than 100 were injured in a suicide bomb attack.

James Bird, lead nurse for emergency medicine at St Mary’s, which is part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, says that normally a major incident would be expected once every three years. On all three recent occasions, staff at the hospital provided rapid, exceptional care for a


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