NHS organisations urged to review security arrangements in wake of Liverpool hospital explosion
NHS organisations have been asked to review their security arrangements after the UK threat level was raised.
A letter has been sent to organisations, including hospital trusts and GPs, asking them to make sure all staff are aware of their incident response plans, and urging steps to be taken to “mitigate identified risks”.
It comes in the wake of the explosion outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital on Sunday.
Suspected terrorist Emad Al Swealmeen blew himself up with a homemade bomb in a taxi, while the driver managed to survive the incident and has since been discharged from hospital.
NHS England boss Amanda Pritchard said the letter, dated November 15, will remind people to “look again at their local security arrangements”.
She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We have written out to the NHS as we always do when the terror level changes just to make people aware of that.
“That will trigger of course people to look again at their local security arrangements – that’s completely normal, it is something that the NHS keeps under constant review because that confidence that patients need to feel that they can come in and out of hospitals in safety is paramount.”
She praised staff at the hospital in question who she said had “really focused on maintaining services” despite a “really difficult 48 hours” since the explosion.
On Monday, it was announced that the UK terror threat level had been raised from substantial to severe following the incident, meaning an attack is “highly likely” rather than “likely”.
The letter, from NHS England’s director of emergency preparedness resilience and response Stephen Groves, asks health bosses to ensure they “cascade the change in alert level to your staff”, review relevant staffing levels and security arrangements across health facilities, and make sure all staff are aware of their organisation’s incident response plans.
They are also asked to notify their local NHS England and NHS Improvement Regional EPRR (Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response) team of any current or scheduled works or operational changes affecting service delivery within their organisation, to review the Home Office advice issued in relation to this threat “and risk assess this against your own organisation, taking steps where possible to mitigate identified risks”.
Organisations are requested to ensure they review “mutual aid agreements with other health services including specialist and private providers”.
Ms Pritchard said staff at the Liverpool hospital showed “calm professionalism” during Sunday’s incident.
She said: “I would just like to put on record my thanks and praise for the staff at Liverpool Women’s Hospital who have had a really difficult past 48 hours and responded with that calm professionalism that really does exemplify NHS staff and has done across the whole of the pandemic.”
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