"Yesterday I was privileged and lucky enough to have been invited to see at first hand the opening day of the four-day LIVEX18 event organised by York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the British Army at the Army Medical Services Training Centre in my home ward of Strensall.
The event was billed as a 'Simulation Mass Casualty Live Exercise' and as might be suggested, in no small part a programme designed to assist and prepare in response to some of the horrific events we have seen in the UK and the continent in recent years. Heaven forbid it should ever need to be put into practice here but it is testament to the York Health Trust and the Army that they aim to help their dedicated staff be as prepared as is realistically possible and to give us civilians the best possible support and care should we ever be caught up in such horrors. Indeed the York Trust had aims including, 'to test the Trust Incident Response Plan, Exercise staff in developing skills in Trauma teams and to provide feedback to allow improvement'. All worthy aims and while one facilitator commented he had once been told "practice makes you more lucky", it can certainly also be said practice makes us all better able.
As a Health Scrutiny Chair, I often have to question and make critical appraisal. Likewise, I believe it should also be my duty to report when I have seen what has worked well and give praise when due and it is timely that I can do that at a time when the NHS is celebrating its 70th birthday.
It was no mean feat to be able to recreate the hospital Emergency Department using partitions and adding equipment to make it realistic, the use of live people as casualties as well as mannekins with, in some cases, injuries almost too graphically realistic to dwell over for too long. Nor either, the investment made in releasing literally hundreds of staff to attend over the four days, some at their own inconvenience. The Professionals they are they won't consider it inconvenience of course. It was also a pleasure to talk to military personnel from as far afield as Northern Ireland, the Midlands and the South West who had all come to learn, share best practice and invest in the event too.
The lasting memory I will have is how impressed I was with the organisation of the event, the professionalism of all involved and a huge sense of pride in our Health Service and Armed Forces. The photo attached of the Yorkshire Ambulance Service and Army Medical vehicle side by side nicely sums up for me what was a great partnership learning event. Bravo one and all."
Counillor Paul Doughty
Conservative Councillor for Strensall ward, Chair, Health and Adult Social Care Policy & Scrutiny Committee, City of York Council