Emergency services to put teamwork to test in major incident simulation

Emergency services from across the south will put their teamwork and training to the test as part of a major incident exercise at Southampton General Hospital on Tuesday (3 May).

The event, which will involve around 100 participants, will be based on the scenario of an explosion and will be complete with sound effects, scenery – including collapsed concrete and wood – and simulated casualties played by volunteers.

Teams from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, South Central Ambulance Service, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust will take part in the drill.

Once the scene has been attended by the fire service and ambulance crews, casualties will be moved to the hospital’s clinical skills training centre where paramedics will hand them over to clinicians in the major trauma team.

Representatives from each emergency service will observe the roles carried out by their colleagues at each stage to help with their understanding of the process from the start of an incident to the moment casualties arrive in hospital.

Southampton General Hospital is one of only two centres in the south of England to offer the full range of specialist surgical, intensive care and supporting services for both adults and children who suffer major trauma and is supported by seven regional trauma units.

Els Freshwater, an advanced clinical practitioner in the emergency department at UHS, said: “We have spent six months preparing for this event and it will be a great opportunity for emergency services from across the south to come together and test our preparations for a major incident.

“As a trauma centre, our clinicians would play a major role in managing critically injured casualties and liaising with our partners in this type of situation, so this activity will enable us to see what we already do well as a group and where we could improve.”

She added: “What we are particularly pleased about with this event is that, by using volunteers – including some former patients who have offered to help – to play casualties, we will be able to talk to them as we would in a real incident and that can provide valuable experience.”

The major incident exercise will be held in the hospital’s east wing annexe, situated next to the emergency department at Southampton General Hospital, from 11am on Tuesday (3 May) before moving to the clinical skills department in the afternoon.

Steve Court, deputy emergency planning and resilience manager at UHS, added: “These exercises are an essential part of our planning for serious and large-scale incidents and we look forward to welcoming our colleagues for what we hope will be a very useful and productive event.”

There will be no disruption to patient services during the course of the training exercise and all hospital activity, including access to and around the site, will function as normal.

Posted on Friday 29 April 2016