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8 Genuine illness and injury during europe’s largest emergency service major incident exercise
  1. E Cannon,
  2. T Edwards,
  3. R Fothergill
  1. London Ambulance Service, London, UK


Aim Previous studies of patient presentation rates at mass gatherings have been limited to social events. None have assessed presentation rates in the context of a large-scale emergency service exercise where individuals (actors playing hypothetical casualties) are exposed to an environment containing many potential hazards.

Methods Exercise Unified Response was the largest multi-agency exercise ever held in Europe. It was a four-day major incident exercise in the UK, in which 2700 individuals acted as casualties. Clinical records completed by healthcare professionals providing on-site medical cover for the duration of the event were reviewed. Clinical records were included where the individual’s role in the exercise was listed as ‘actor’.

Results Thirty actors required medical attention, giving a patient presentation rate (PPR) of 11.1 per one thousand actors. Of these, 10% were conveyed to hospital with musculoskeletal (n=2) or head injuries (n=1); an ambulance transfer rate (ATR) of 1.11 per 1000. Just under half of all patients (40%, n=12) had a contributory factor to seeking medical help, where they had: not eaten on the day (n=4); a pre-existing condition exacerbated by the exercise, such asthma (n=3); pre-existing symptoms of acute illness (n=3), or a pre-existing injury (n=2).

Conclusion Patient presentation rate was in line with previous research1. However, we believe this is the first study to report similar data for a mass emergency service exercise. Our findings regarding the factors and pre-existing illnesses/conditions that contributed to individuals seeking medical help will be valuable in planning future large-scale exercises.


  1. Alguthami, A., Pines, J., 2014. A systematic review of noncommunicable health issues in mass gatherings. Prehosp Disaster Med, 29(2), 167–75.

Conflict of interest None declared.

Funding None declared.

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