QEH Activates Emergency Management Plan in Response to Volcanic Ash

Although the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (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 hospitalized patients, and those presenting to the Accident and Emergency Department (AED).

The 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.

To minimize the impact of ash on patients and staff, an enhanced, hourly cleaning regimen commenced on Saturday, April 10, and will continue until the heavy ash fall subsides. Areas prioritized 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.

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.

Pending no further impact from the ash fall out-patient clinic services as well as the Pharmacy Medication Delivery Service will resume on Tuesday April 13. Patients affected by the unexpected closure of the Out-Patient Clinics on Monday, April 12 are reminded that they will be contacted by a member of the Medical Records Department during the course of the week and provided with a rescheduled appointment date and time. All efforts will be made to have a new appointment within a reasonable time. 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 helpdesk@qeh.gov.bb for guidance before visiting the Accident and Emergency Department. Out Help Desk is manned by medical professionals and is open until from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. daily.

It has been a very challenging time for the Emergency Ambulance Service (EAS) as the environmental conditions have caused poor visibility. The ash has also made the roads very treacherous to drive on. 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.

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 persons 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.

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