More than 40 members of staff took part in a major incident training exercise at King’s College Hospital last week.
The exercise involved the simulation of a real-time terrorist attack and “patients” with knife wounds and other types of injuries arrived in a mocked up resuscitation unit.
The patients were represented by mannequins which “breathed” and made sounds to make the exercise as realistic as possible. Staff had to treat the patients and decide whether to transfer them to the surgical team.
Doctors and nurses all took part in the exercise, which was organised by medical education fellow Sophie Williams.
She said: “It was really fantastic, a really enjoyable day. It was quite chaotic in there, which is what we wanted, for it to be as realistic as possible. We kept upping the ante with lots of patients coming through.
“Everyone said it felt real. There were a few members of staff who had been in major incidents before but many of them hadn’t so this was really useful training for them. Working at King’s, which is a major trauma centre, you are likely to be involved in a major incident at some point.”
Following the exercise staff took part in a de-brief and discussed learning points from the day.
“We talked about the logistics,” said Sophie. “We realised it was important to document all the patients carefully as soon as they come in. It’s about ensuring patient safety and things being clear when you hand over to other teams.
“Setting up the hierarchy structure quickly is important; there needs to be clinical leaders in each area who are able to oversee what is happening. These clinicians should not be treated the patients themselves but managing others to do so.
“We also needed to ensure there are clear lines of communication and, in the event of the telephone lines going down, being clear about what the back-up solutions are. Are you going to use runners and notes?
“Overall it was a really useful exercise and hopefully all those who participated will have learnt a lot from the experience.”