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Finsbury Park mosque attack: senior sister praises team’s response

The senior sister in charge of the unit where patients were treated following the terror attack in Finsbury Park has paid tribute to her team.

The senior sister in charge of the unit where five patients were treated following the terror attack in Finsbury Park has paid tribute to her team.


‘Everyone showed phenomenal teamwork and excellent communication,’ says
the Royal London Hospital’s senior sister Gwen Heading. Picture: Alamy

The Royal London Hospital’s senior sister Gwen Heading was in charge of the adult critical care unit on 19 June when news broke of a van hitting worshippers as they left a mosque shortly after midnight.

One man died at the scene and a further nine people were injured in the attack, following which the hospital’s major incident plan swung into action.

It was the fourth terrorist attack in Britain since March.

Phenomenal teamwork

Ms Heading said: ‘Obviously recent events have highlighted the need for everyone to be ready at all times, but we deal with trauma on a daily basis so in that respect it was no different to what we all do anyway.

‘Everyone showed phenomenal teamwork and excellent communication.’

She admitted the number of recent terrorist incidents weighed on the mind of staff. 

‘We hold regular debriefing sessions, to give staff a chance to say how they are feeling.

More prepared

‘I was on duty during the London tube bombings in 2005 and you pass on that kind of experience to colleagues to help them learn.

‘I would say we are more prepared for these incidents now than in the past and, yes they do appear to be more frequent. But morale remains high and we continue to do the job as normal.’

NHS England director of nursing Hilary Garrett revealed today that her organisation is reviewing the nationwide Prevent programme to ensure nurses and other staff are able to identify those at risk of all forms of radicalisation.

‘I met the Regional Prevent Co-ordinators last week to explore if we are doing all we can to stop future tragedies or whether there anything we can do more of or better,' she wrote in a blog.

Critical thinking

‘I would encourage everyone to do the same. Please do take time to talk to colleagues and staff, and think critically and constructively.

‘I would also urge you to make contact with your lead for safeguarding, or our regional prevent coordinators to ensure that we are doing all we can to prevent further bloodshed and loss of life.’

Detectives continue to question a suspect arrested on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and terrorism offences.


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