NHS London has published a review of five significant fires during 2008/09 at NHS sites in London, which required the evacuation of part or whole of the building. Any evacuation of a large commercial building is difficult – coping with a facility as complex as an NHS site, complete with sick and recovering patients, staff and visitors presents further challenges.
The events of 2008/09 proved that with good teamwork, leadership and planning, a safe, successful evacuation of a healthcare facility is achievable. NHS London states that it is imperative that every NHS organisation in London has tried and tested full site evacuation plans.
London’s experiences during 2008/09 demonstrate the critical importance of being prepared for emergencies. The report shares lessons learned from the five significant sires to support colleagues in the wider NHS when developing local plans.
The detailed lessons identified from the five events detailed in the report are clearly laid out in Appendix 2 to provide a checklist for planners and managers across the health service. The report will help to inform the ongoing development of the Department of Health guidance – planning for the evacuation and shelter of people in healthcare settings.
Healthcare Governance Review suggests that NHS boards assure themselves that management in their organisations are well prepared for emergencies and, in particular, have tried and tested full site evacuation plans in place.
Download the report Review of five London hospital fires and their management here.
Credit: Thanks to Peter Aldridge, fire safety manager at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, for bringing this report to our attention.