Hospital: We're prepared for bio attack

STAFF at Ipswich Hospital have issued assurances they have rigorous practices in place to cope with a biological or radioactive attack a year on after September 11.

By Amanda Cresswell

STAFF at Ipswich Hospital have issued assurances they have rigorous practices in place to cope with a biological or radioactive attack a year on after September 11.

They spoke out after a report revealed almost a quarter of hospitals are not fully ready to cope with a biological attack and 37 percent are ill prepared to deal with a radioactive incident.

The National Audit Office looked at emergency planning by NHS trusts, ambulance trusts and health authorities across Britain.


You may also want to watch:


It found the NHS is ready to cope with plane and rail crashes - but there are still gaps, particularly in dealing with biological, radiological and nuclear incidents or those involving 500 casualties or more.

But because of Ipswich's close proximity to Sizewell, Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust claims it is prepared in the event of a disaster.

Most Read

Spokeswoman Jan Rowsell, said: "We follow all the national guidelines the department of health issued in coping with such an emergency.

"The trust, because it is in the very close proximity to Sizewell, we also stage planning and simulation exercises – Major Accident Planning – which has always included dealing with incidents which involve biological and chemical products.

"We do our utmost to plan for such emergencies and obviously rely on expert sources of help and assistance from colleagues in other organisations. We don't know how we fare nationally but we have very, very rigorous systems in place.

"The Major Accident Planning team meet on a regular basis to evaluate all the procedures in place and we regularly stage accidents with the help of drama students and members of the community who act out a particular scenario. It is taken very seriously indeed."

The report found nationally there have been improvements in major incident plans since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre. It highlighted weakness in planning, testing, training, equipment provision and communications.

Responding to the report, the Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson, said: "The NHS is better prepared than it has ever been, although there is still much work to do."

The NAO report showed that by February this year one fifth of health authorities said they were not well prepared for radiological incidents. Four fifths had not tested their plans for radiological or nuclear incidents and a third said their training for such events was poor or very poor.

The report said: "Readiness in respect specifically of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incidents were unsatisfactory."

By October this year 22 percent of acute trusts were not well prepared for a biological incident and 37 percent were not fully ready to deal with a radioactive one.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus