27 APR 2018

What if the Salisbury attack happened in Maidstone?

MP Helen Grant sees the emergency response team in action

The Emergency Planning and Response Team based at Maidstone Hospital invited local MP Helen Grant to a practice demonstration recently. They wanted to show how they would deal with a chemical radiation incident, such as the recent attack in Salisbury, if such an event were to happen in the South East.

Dressed in hi-tech air-conditioned bio-chemical protection suits costing around £1200 each, the team showed how contaminated survivors of such an attack would be prepared for sustainable medication in hospital without endangering the staff or other patients.

The team also demonstrated part of a unique training initiative for guide dogs and their owners to ensure people with restricted vision could also manage, and be managed, in these types of scenario. The programme was developed in partnership with Kent Association for the Blind and is now going to be used to train others right across the country.

Maidstone & The Weald MP Helen Grant said "Incidents involving dangerous chemical and biological agents are mercifully rare within these shores, but when something does happen it is incredibly reassuring to know that there are highly trained professionals ready to act within seconds of an emergency taking place, right on our doorsteps".

'The team frequently undertake exercises alongside other partners within the health economy model, such as blood and antedote supply, and the other emergency services. They ensure we have an integrated emergency response plan in place for every conceivable circumstance and I was so impressed with the team's preparedness.'

John Weeks, Head of Emergency Planning and Response for Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, said: "We were delighted to be able to talk to MP Helen Grant about Emergency Planning and Response at Maidstone hospital last week. She dropped in on an exercise which tested our ability to decontaminate those involved in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear emergencies. During the event, we were also able to demonstrate our partnership with Kent Association for the Blind by showing how our staff work with those with impaired vision and even a guide dog.

"We spoke about the commitment of staff, and the organisation, to ensure the Trust is prepared for emergencies, as well as the challenging and innovative training we have created and regularly carry out."

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