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St Thomas' staff join exercise to simulate disaster at Waterloo

Staff at St Thomas' Hospital have taken part in a major emergency planning exercise based on the scenario of a tower block collapsing at Waterloo Station leading to mass casualties.

St Thomas' staff join exercise to simulate disaster at Waterloo

During Exercise Unified Response, volunteers played the role of casualties with fake injuries brought to the emergency department (A&E) at St Thomas' Hospital following the collapse.

Dozens of staff from across the Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust participated in the exercise and responded as they would to a real-life major incident.

The volunteer casualties – many with traumatic, life-threatening injuries received treatment from teams in A&E, critical care, surgery, imaging and other specialist services.

"We take our emergency planning duties very seriously and participating in the exercise was an extremely valuable opportunity for us to rehearse our response to a mass-casualty incident," said Dr Simon Steddon, acting chief operating officer at Guy's and St Thomas'.

"The scenario was undoubtedly challenging and a robust test of our preparedness. This is incredibly useful for allowing us to learn and to continue to improve our response.

"I'm proud to say that our staff performed brilliantly under the pressure. As an organisation we know how best to manage a major incident so that even when services are under immense strain we can ensure top quality care for patients."

The trust says that normal services for hospital patients were unaffected by the exercise..

Exercise Unified Response is running from 29 February to 3 March and involves a range of different agencies and emergency response teams.

Four separate venues in London as well as a disused power station in Dartford, Kent, are being used and a total of 2,000 volunteers have taken part in the exercise.

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