Pre­par­ing for the threat of an Ebola epi­demic

Ex­er­cise tested how emer­gency ser­vices would han­dle sit­u­a­tion

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Alan Hayes alan.hayes@trin­i­tymir­

IT IS a glimpse of a night­mare we all hope is never go­ing to come true.

Some­one has walked into a Bri­tish hos­pi­tal with symp­toms of the killer virus, Ebola. Health ex­perts in full pro­tec­tive suits swing into ac­tion.

At the week­end, Hilling­don Hos­pi­tal was one of only two places in Bri­tain to test their readi­ness should this hap­pen in re­al­ity.

Train for the worst, hope for the best – Ebola drill in pic­tures.

HILLING­DON Hos­pi­tal has car­ried out an ‘Ebola drill’.

The hos­pi­tal took part in the ma­jor train­ing ex­er­cise on Satur­day to test the preparedness of emer­gency ser­vices for an out­break.

It was one of only two ar­eas in the UK cho­sen to act out a sce­nario which was filmed in real time by the Depart­ment of Health for train­ing pur­poses, said a spokesman.

The video footage was shown on BBC News on Mon­day evening.

The sce­nario in­volved an in­di­vid­ual walk­ing into the hos­pi­tal in Pield Heath Road with flu-like symp­toms, hav­ing re­cently re­turned from West Africa.

The ‘pa­tient’ was iso­lated and trans­ferred to Royal Free Hos­pi­tal, which has a spe­cial­ist iso­la­tion unit.

Noreen Rice, Hilling­don Hos­pi­tal’s emer­gency care ser­vices man­ager, said: “We have learned things from this ex­pe­ri­ence to­day.

“The more you prac­tice the bet­ter you get, and it was re­ally use­ful to help us test out just how pre­pared we are for deal­ing with a in­ci­dent like this. I am con­fi­dent that we can man­age th­ese sit­u­a­tions.”

The doc­tor who man­aged the pa­tient care dur­ing the drill, Amy Bibby, the hos­pi­tal’s se­nior house of­fi­cer, said: “It’s been re­ally re­ward­ing to be in­volved with this ex­er­cise.

“I’m glad to be able to help test out our pro­ce­dures and hope­fully it will help other col­leagues with their plan­ning in the fu­ture.”

n VI­TAL TRAIN­ING: A clin­i­cian wears pro­tec­tive cloth­ing from head to toe to ex­am­ine an Ebola ‘pa­tient’ dur­ing a readi­ness drill sim­i­lar to that car­ried out at Hilling­don Hos­pi­tal

Photo cour­tesy of Depart­ment of Health

n EX­PE­RI­ENCE: Staff take part in the Ebola train­ing drill

Pho­tos by Ann-Marie Sanderson

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