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QEH activates Emergency Management Plan


QEH activates Emergency Management Plan
Queen Elizabeth Hospital. (FILE)

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The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) emergency response protocols for severe weather systems, as outlined in the QEH Emergency Management Plan, have been activated. This includes the need for round the clock housekeeping and maintenance services, in addition to clinical care. A shuttle service is also in effect to provide transportation services for staff experiencing difficulty travelling to work.

“Although the QEH has been impacted by the present climatic conditions, its members of staff have mounted a tremendous response to ensure the safety of patients and staff, and the continuity of care for hospitalised patients, and those presenting to the Accident and Emergency Department (AED),” a statement from the hospital said.

“Patients visiting the AED will continue to be assessed and given the necessary care based on the severity of their condition and measures have been put in place should there be an increased demand for services from people with respiratory complaints caused by the current climatic conditions. At present there have been no recorded asthma-related deaths in the AED due to the ash fall,” the statement, which was released today, said.

The QEH said that enhanced hourly cleaning began on Saturday to minimise the impact of ash on patients and staff. This will continue until the heavy ash fall subsides. Areas prioritised for cleaning include intensive care units, the operating theatres and recovery room, as well as the medical and surgical wards.

“To preserve the sterility of the hospital’s Main Operating Theatres, Recovery Room, and other satellite operating theatres, the air-conditioning systems in these areas were serviced on Monday, April 12 and will continue to have recurrent preventative maintenance as needed. As such, the hospital will continue to perform emergent and urgent surgical procedures.”

The hospital said pending further impact from the ash fall out-patient clinic services as well as the Pharmacy Medication Delivery Service will resume tomorrow.

Patients affected by the unexpected closure of the Out-Patient Clinics today will be contacted by a member of the Medical Records Department and provided with a rescheduled appointment.

“Persons whose appointment was cancelled but feel unwell and believe they require emergency or urgent medical care, please contact the QEH Help Desk at 536-4800 or send an email to [email protected]  for guidance before visiting the Accident and Emergency Department,” the statement said.

Emergency Ambulance Service (EAS) personnel have also encountered challenges as the environmental conditions have caused poor visibility. The ash has also made the roads very treacherous. The QEH said this and the continual cleaning of ambulances before and after calls due to the heavy ash fall has resulted in delays in the EAS’ response time. (PR)