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Emergency services and hospital staff learn from exercise

POLICE, ambulance and fire service staff cordoned off the front of the Kent and Sussex Hospital, Tunbridge Wells this morning leading passers-by to think there was an emergency underway.

Instead, it was emergency services and NHS personnel testing plans to evacuate the hospital in an exercise centred around the discovery of a Second World War unexploded bomb found at the site.

Bomb squad staff, who were due to take part in the operation, were diverted to Surrey to a real emergency.

About 100 staff from the NHS and emergency services took part in the exercise with 16 actors playing the part of patients to be evacuated.

'Patients’ were moved to the Camden Centre, off Camden Road, which doubled as a evacuation centre and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council set up am emergency control centre at the Town Hall to co-ordinate the exercise.

John Weeks, emergency planning officer for the NHS, said: “These exercises are extremely important and enable us to test our emergency plans and learn how to do things better.”

The exercise was organised by Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust Emergency Planning Team.

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