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26 May 2017, 13:29
All 27 major trauma centres in England have been told to prepare staff for a potential terrorist attack ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend.
The major trauma centres in the North East are James Cook in Middlesbrough and Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary.
In a statement,
A spokesperson for Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Foundation Trust said:
"Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Foundation Trust has longstanding plans in place, which are regularly tested, to prepare for an increased security alert. People should continue to attend appointments and use the NHS as they normally would, unless they are told differently.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust which runs James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough said:
"NHS England has written to all NHS providers following the Prime Minister's announcement that the country's security alert level has been raised to critical.
"This sets out a range of precautionary measures, in line with longstanding planning protocols, that we are required to have in place at this time.
"People should continue to attend appointments and use the NHS as they normally would, unless they are told differently."
The advice from NHS England includes asking surgeons to review treatment of blast and ballistic injuries, and ensure that all staff are familiar with major incident plans.
The message is a response to the raising of the national security threat from severe to critical, rather than any specific intelligence, but reflects the sense of heightened risk across law enforcement and emergency services.
NHS England has asked the centres to make sure staff review their role in emergency planning.
Staff have been advised to carry ID at all times and ensure they are aware of entry points to hospitals in lock-down.
The message comes after what is considered the success of the emergency response to the Manchester attack on Monday.
As part of the major incident plan, practiced as recently as last month, eight hospitals treated the injured and five ambulance services were involved.
An NHS England spokesman said:
"Since the [Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre] has announced the threat level has changed from severe to critical, this triggers long-standing, tried and tested NHS protocols reflected in this letter, which reminds NHS organisations of the precautionary measures they need to take ensure care is in place should it be needed."
Earlier, NHS England confirmed that after Monday's attack, 116 people received inpatient hospital care, with 75 people admitted across eight hospitals, including 23 patients in critical care units.
There are 14 children still receiving treatment at Manchester Children's Hospital, five of them in critical care.