NHS hospitals including Ipswich, West Suffolk and Colchester told to prepare for another serious incident

West Suffolk Hospital A&E. Picture: ARCHANT

West Suffolk Hospital A&E. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Hospitals across England have been put on high alert after the UK’s threat level was raised to critical due to the Manchester terror attack.

Colchester Hospital. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Colchester Hospital. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

The NHS has told all trusts, including Ipswich, Colchester and West Suffolk, to prepare for another serious incident, possibly as early as this weekend.

A warning has also been sent to all 27 trauma centres, like Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, by Chris Moran, who is NHS England’s national clinical director for trauma.

The message, obtained by Health Service Journal, states: “You will be aware that we have a bank holiday weekend approaching. There are a number of things that all trauma units and major trauma centres can do to prepare for a further incident and I should be grateful if you could disseminate these within your network so that frontline clinicians are aware.”

Patients have been advised to use the NHS as normal, unless told otherwise.

Ipswich Hospital. Picture: SIMON PARKER

Ipswich Hospital. Picture: SIMON PARKER

Staff at Colchester Hospital have been urged to be “extra-vigilant in relation to security”.

On Wednesday at 3.20pm an email from the hospital’s managing director Dr Barbara Buckley was sent to all workers. It read:

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“In the last 24 hours the UK Threat Level has changed from SEVERE to CRITICAL and the NHS now needs to take a number of steps to respond to this change in line with the NHS Emergency Preparedness Resilience and Response Protocol (EPRR).

We will take a number of actions across the hospital today to double-check that we can implement our Major Incident Plan safely and smoothly if required. All staff are asked at this stage to make sure they are aware of their local incident plans and are extra-vigilant in relation to security.”

A spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital said the trust had made a number of checks, including of staffing, security, emergency department cover, theatre capacity and blood stock levels, to make sure it could trigger its “major incident plan” if necessary.

She added: “We have taken all the steps that we can to make sure we are as prepared as we possibly can be should anything untoward happen.”

West Suffolk Hospital, Colchester Hospital, Addenbrooke’s Hospital and NHS England all released a similar statement on request, which said “precautionary measures” were being taken in line with “longstanding protocols”.

On Tuesday the UK’s terrorism threat level shifted from severe to critical, the day after 22-year-old suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated an explosive device at Manchester Arena, killing 22 people. The change means a terrorist attack is expected imminently.

Armed police have since been sent to patrol key sites in Suffolk and Essex.