Key specialist trainees lack knowledge of response to major incidents

  • Emerg Med J

  • curated by Dawn O'Shea
  • UK Medical News
Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals. Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals.

The findings of a new survey suggest that only one in three registrars in essential specialties know what they should be doing in the event of a major incident such as the Manchester Arena bombing and the Grenfell Tower fire.

Since 2004, all hospitals in England have been required to have a major incident plan (MIP) to respond to an incident involving a large number of casualties. The plans include details on the roles and responsibilities of key members of the response team, including specialists in anaesthetics, intensive care, emergency medicine, general surgery, trauma and orthopaedics. 

However, the study published in the Emergency Medicine Journal suggests important key medical professionals do not know what would be expected of them in the event of a similar emergency.

The study authors contacted 296 specialist trainees in emergency medicine, trauma and orthopaedics, anaesthetics and general surgery from 74 hospital trusts that had dealt with more than 30,000 patients in emergency care in the first three months of 2017.

Of 186 (62.8%) who responded, half had not read their hospital’s MIP. Less than half (46.8%) knew where to find a copy of the plan.

When asked what role they would have in a major incident response, only 36 per cent knew what they would be required to do. Emergency medicine registrars were most familiar with their hospital’s protocol, closely followed by anaesthetics, with surgical specialties being least familiar.

The authors recommend that ‘action cards’ summarising the MIP roles of key individuals should be included in induction packs at all hospitals. They further recommend simulation and specialist seminars, especially at high-risk hospitals.