Half of hospital doctors in UK not adequately prepared for major incidents, finds survey

13 August 2019 (Last Updated August 13th, 2019 07:59)

About 50% of doctors working at key hospitals in the UK who are likely to be involved in responding to major incidents, such as the Manchester Arena terror attack or Grenfell Tower fire in London, are not adequately prepared, according to a survey conducted by researchers of Oxford University.

About 50% of doctors working at key hospitals in the UK who are likely to be involved in responding to major incidents, such as the Manchester Arena terror attack or Grenfell Tower fire in London, are not adequately prepared, according to a survey conducted by researchers of Oxford University.

The survey found that doctors are less prepared than they were in 2006, when a similar survey was carried out.

The findings of the survey were published in the Emergency Medicine Journal. The report is titled ‘Preparation for the Next Major Incident: Are We Ready? A 12-year update’.

The researchers carried out a phone survey to understand if the relatively low level of preparedness had changed from more than a decade ago.

For the survey, the researchers contacted 296 specialist trainees (on-call registrars) in departments such as emergency medicine, trauma and orthopaedics, anaesthetics and general surgery from 74 hospital trusts.

In the first quarter of 2017, these trusts together dealt with over 30,000 patients in emergency care.

For the survey, the researchers received responses from 186 (63%) doctors, while the rest did not respond.

Hospitals in England must have a major incident plan (MIP) so that they can respond adequately to an incident that involves a huge number of casualties. However, the survey found around 50% of specialist on-call registrar respondents had not even read the plan, while only one in four had read it partially.

Only 47% respondents knew where to locate the plan, under 18% did not know where to find it, and the others were  not sure.

Just 36% knew what they have to do in case of an a major incident, 37% were not sure, and 27% did not know.

The survey found that emergency medicine doctors, however, were the most prepared.

The report added: “Of concern, we found no improvement since 2006: indeed, fewer individuals were confident in the role they would play if an MIP came into effect while they were on call.”