NHS insiders have claimed Britain’s hospitals may be unprepared to deal with an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus after a suspected sufferer caused chaos in a London A&E ward on Saturday.
Staff were said to be ‘panicking’ at Lewisham hospital after the potential victim arrived having travelled from Sierra Leone. They allowed the patient to use communal toilets and to have visitors, despite the risk of infecting others. The reported shortcomings come despite high-profile NHS drills supposed to demonstrate that British hospitals are ready.
The supposed victim was not transferred to a specialist unit at the Royal Free Hospital, the only fully-equipped ‘ebola-proof’ isolation unit in the UK. Instead, he was treated by on duty staff at Lewisham hospital equipped with aprons, masks and gloves, rather than biohazard suits.
Thankfully, The man was later found not to have the virus. The outbreak has now killed in excess of 4,000 people globally
Symptoms of the virus can take up to 21 days after infection to appear – and the virus is fatal in up to 70% of cases. Researchers at Boston Northeastern University predict that there is a 50% chance Ebola will arrive in Britain within the next 16 days, due to Britain being a major transport hub.
Whilst this may be worrying, the positive is that this will raise awareness of any shortcomings, and hopefully we are more prepared for when the virus does reach our shores.
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