WHO supports public health preparedness for EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine

WHO/Paulina Miskiewicz

Exercise testing emergency preparedness in the military hospital of Wroclav, Poland

WHO/Europe is working closely with health authorities in Poland and Ukraine, co-hosts of the 14th Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) European Football Championship (EURO 2012), to strengthen their readiness for this mass gathering.

WHO experts recently attended an exercise to test capacities for mass-casualty management and emergency preparedness in the military hospital in Wroclav, one of the host cities for EURO 2012 in Poland, and to provide recommendations on the current state of the hospital’s emergency response plan. A preparatory workshop gave participants an overview of the simulation exercise and highlighted relevant information on expected casualties, trigger indicators for activating the emergency response plan, triage and patient traffic flow, and the responsibilities of hospital staff.

The exercise allowed officials to identify the strengths of the current hospital plan, including strong command leadership, committed and qualified staff, and effective management of incoming patients. In addition, it exposed potential gaps in the system and identified potential problems in the current plan, which were outlined in greater detail in a technical feedback report. An analysis of potential problems led to recommendations for future exercises in other hospitals.

Following the exercise, WHO and Ministry of Health officials in Warsaw agreed on concrete joint planning efforts. A national template for emergency response plans will be developed that all Polish hospitals can adopt. WHO will not only support the refinement of this standard plan but also work with national counterparts to further develop hospital business continuity plans, to ensure that emergency medical services and hospitals will be ready to meet increased service demands during mass gatherings.