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Healthcare staff need recovery time after mass casualty events

The impact of terrorist attacks and disasters that cause multiple casualties can be felt by local health services for many months after the event

The physical and psychological effects of mass casualty events on healthcare staff are severe, under-reported and under-appreciated, according to senior medics writing in the British Medical Journal.

The effect of events such as terror attacks and the Grenfell Tower fire could be felt for months in nearby hospitals, it says.

As well as requiring extra resources, the NHS needs to prepare for the physical and psychological demands on staff, giving them time to recuperate after the extraordinary demands placed on them in the immediate aftermath.

‘They often witness death and life-changing injuries against a backdrop of physical exhaustion,’ the authors write.

‘They are required to function at a high level in an extremely high-pressure situation.’