The vulnerability of public spaces: challenges for UK hospitals under the 'new' terrorist threat

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Fischbacher-Smith, D. ; Fischbacher-Smith, M. (2013)

This article considers the challenges for hospitals in the United Kingdom that arise from the threats of mass-casualty terrorism. Whilst much has been written about the role of health care as a rescuer in terrorist attacks and other mass-casualty crises, little has been written about health care as a victim within a mass-emergency setting. Yet, health care is a key component of any nation's contingency planning and an erosion of its capabilities would have a significant impact on the generation of a wider crisis following a mass-casualty event. This article seeks to highlight the nature of the challenges facing elements of UK health care, with a focus on hospitals both as essential contingency responders under the United Kingdom's civil contingencies legislation and as potential victims of terrorism. It seeks to explore the potential gaps that exist between the task demands facing hospitals and the vulnerabilities that exist within them.
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