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IMO urges improvement in emergency planning

Union members passed a motion calling on the Executive and “regional emergency management offices to engage with all emergency departments when exercises are being planned in the community so as to ensure opportunities for shared learning are maximised”.

“There are a lot of planning exercises that take place in the public health arena, in the pre-hospital emergency care arena, in the fire service arena, in the Garda arena. They don’t all interact,” said Consultant in Emergency Medicine Dr Mick Molloy.

“Or if they do, they don’t certainly interact with our local receiving emergency departments. So we get kind of left out. The practice exercises happen, all those relationships get built, but when the true emergency and disaster happens, they come to the local hospital and go ‘why does it not work?’ Because we haven’t been engaged in the exercise.

“So this [motion] is trying to get everyone playing on the same field, to advance our own systems and network to respond to these situations.”

IMO NCHD Committee Chair and trainee in emergency medicine Dr Paddy Hillery said he supported the motion, “having taken part in one of these events — from the hospital side, it was a great learning experience”.

He added that practice and interaction between the different services was vital preparation for any serious emergency event.

Separately, the AGM passed a motion calling on the Department and HSE to “fulfil their national and international obligations to develop and implement strategy to respond to chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incidents, whether unintended or due to terrorist activity, and which may result in mass casualties, including the provision of adequate resources.”

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