NI health staff will ‘learn’ from London and Manchester

Scene of the terror attacks in the London Bridge area
Scene of the terror attacks in the London Bridge area

The health service in Northern Ireland says it will learn from the recent terror attacks in London and Manchester in case of such an atrocity happening here.

The Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) said it already has “Emergency Preparedness Plans” in place for terror attacks and that “learning” from the NHS response to the attacks in England will be taken on board.

Health staff here are also “trained to co-ordinate and support a major incident response”, the HSCB has said.

The emergency response from police and the NHS to the terror attacks in Manchester and London was highly praised in the aftermath of both incidents by survivors, relatives and the general public.

NHS staff, in particular, won widespread praise for their dedication. After both the Westminster Bridge and Manchester concert attacks, hospitals ended up turning away doctors, nurses and other staff who were volunteering to come in.

Aside from the dedication of staff, planning is vital for an effective response.

The HSCB in Northern Ireland says it has plans in place that are “continually reviewed”.

Asked “what preparations, if any, are being made within the health service in Northern Ireland so staff are equipped to respond effectively in the event of a terrorist attack”, a HSCB spokesperson said its plans were “long established”.

The spokesperson said: “Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland have long established Emergency Preparedness Plans and work with multi agency partner organisations to plan and test for such events.

“HSC Trusts have major incident plans which have been developed to provide a proportionate response to any major incident.

“Staff are trained to co-ordinate and support a major incident response, and plans are exercised in accordance with the Controls Assurance Standards for Emergency Planning.

“Plans in Northern Ireland are continually reviewed and learning from the recent tragic events in London and Manchester will be considered and incorporated into these reviews.”