News

Heroic NHS staff praised for coming to aid of terror attack victims

The swift and heroic actions of NHS staff in response to the weekend’s London terror attack has been praised by healthcare leaders.
london

The swift and heroic actions of NHS staff in response to the weekends London terror attack has been praised by healthcare leaders

Chief nursing officer for England Jane Cummings said she wanted to put on record her gratitude to nurses and other healthcare professionals following Saturday nights London Bridge terrorist attack.

Professor Cummings issued the statement as stories emerged of NHS staff who were in the London Bridge and Borough Market areas at the time of the incident coming to the rescue of the injured.

One nursing student told how she she escaped becoming a victim after a passing taxi driver shouted for her to run.

Acting heroically

Seven people were killed and 48 injured, including 21 critically, in the attack. It

The swift and heroic actions of NHS staff in response to the weekend’s London terror attack has been praised by healthcare leaders

london
Ambulances were on the scene within minutes, and NHS staff
volunteered to work extra shifts. Picture: Getty Images

Chief nursing officer for England Jane Cummings said she wanted to put on record her gratitude to nurses and other healthcare professionals following Saturday night’s London Bridge terrorist attack.

Professor Cummings issued the statement as stories emerged of NHS staff who were in the London Bridge and Borough Market areas at the time of the incident coming to the rescue of the injured.

One nursing student told how she she escaped becoming a victim after a passing taxi driver shouted for her to run.

Acting heroically

Seven people were killed and 48 injured, including 21 critically, in the attack. It began around 10pm on Saturday when a van mowed down members of the public on London Bridge then three men jumped out and began attacking people, stabbing dozens of people in Borough Market.

In a joint statement with NHS England national medical director Sir Bruce Keogh, Professor Cummings said the incident had followed ‘all too fast on the heels’ of the attacks in Manchester and Westminster.

‘On each occasion, we have seen both the worst and the best of humanity … Once again, the NHS and other emergency services acted swiftly and heroically, going towards the danger to help the injured.’

Tireless efforts

They said tried and tested emergency plans were activated, with the London Ambulance Service on the scene within six minutes of the attack and NHS staff volunteering to work extra shifts and through the night.

‘We would like to put on record our gratitude and thanks to everyone for their tireless efforts and commitment in what has been a very difficult period.’

Among those to come face to face with one of the three attackers wielding a 12-inch blade was nursing student Rhiannon Owen.

owen
Nursing student Rhiannon Owen had to run for her life. Picture: PA

She was at a cashpoint on London Bridge when a taxi swerved towards her and the driver told her to run.

‘I turned and saw a man three metres from me, with a twelve inch blade, running towards me. I sprinted for my life,’ the student wrote in a post on Facebook.
'I saw a man get stabbed. Windows smashed, people screaming everywhere. 
'I ran into a nearby open-front pub, and screamed at everyone to run upstairs, that there are people wielding machetes.’

Hiding in pub

Around 40 people then hid in a storage room upstairs in the Applebee pub in Borough Market before police told them to leave.

She thanked the emergency services and is now looking for the taxi driver who saved her life.

‘Thank you to the taxi driver that screamed to run. I owe you my life. He is being reported as a hero in the news, please help me find him so I can thank him,’ she wrote.

Twelve of the casualties are being treated at one hospital, the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.

Many volunteered

The hospital trust’s divisional director of emergency care and trauma Malik Ramadhan told how he was cycling home after finishing his shift when he realised a serious incident was under way, so turned his bike around to return to work.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that many doctors, nurses and operating theatre staff came in on a voluntary basis as part of the hospital’s major incident plan.

Dr Ramadhan also said many healthcare staff were changing their lifestyles, such as not drinking alcohol when off duty, so as to be ready for an incident.

‘Talking to people, given what’s been happening, maybe what we would have normally done Saturday is not what people are doing right now,’ he told the programme.

He said, for example, doctors such as himself were not going for a drink after work.

Extraordinary courage

Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick also paid tribute to the work of the emergency services.

‘I also heard of colleagues from other emergency services and members of the public who ran towards the danger as this incident unfolded.

‘Many, many people risked their own safety to help others and to treat those seriously injured and indeed to confront the suspects involved.

‘It is clear to me that the courage of those people during and following the attack was extraordinary, and I pay tribute to all of them who came to the aid of those in need during this dreadful attack and I am sure helped to save lives.’

London Ambulance Service also thanked its staff who responded ‘quickly, bravely and professionally in very difficult circumstances’.

In other news:

Therapy dogs in new children’s hospital study

NHS survey – what inpatients really think about nurses

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursing standard.com and the Nursing Standard app
  • Monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs