Leeds hospital bosses to receive ‘mass casualties’ training as NHS guards against potential Paris-style terror attack

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NHS chiefs in Yorkshire will receive a presentation on dealing with “mass casualties” next month as Leeds makes plans to deal with a potential Paris-style terror attack.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTH) has been making preparations for a “major incident” as one of hundreds of trusts across England to receive letters from NHS England in response to the terrorist attacks on Paris and Tunisia last year.

Staff are to be advised to think about how they would deal with mass casualties during training, plans are in place to increase critical care capacity and LTH is considering seeking specialist advice on “the management of a significant number of patients with traumatic blast and ballistic injuries”. A meeting of Yorkshire health bosses will also receive a “mass casualties presentation” on February 16.

LTH’s “statement of readiness”, to be discussed at its board meeting on Thursday, links to existing plans to respond to major incidents like the use of chemical or nuclear materials.

A report to LTH’s board explained that the likelihood of an attack on the NHS is seen as low but said it is “essential that all proactive planning and additional resilience is seen as a positive approach to maintaining security and safety”.

Suzanne Hinchliffe, chief nurse at LTH, said: “Our team will continue to work alongside all emergency services and partner agencies to ensure that, should the worst happen, Leeds will have plans in place.”

The plans also include a review of hospital communications, patient flow, command and control training and work to enhance security.

Letter sent to all hospital trusts

NHS England’s deputy chief executive Dame Barbara Hakin sent a letter to all acute trusts in December.

It was sent in light of the Paris attacks and said NHS England, the Department of Health and other agencies were therefore reviewing their resilience plans.

She asked that individual trusts issued a “statement of readiness”, while pointing out the terror threat level remains “severe”. The aim is for the NHS to be in a position “to respond to a range of threats and hazards”.