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Top 10 lessons from the Glasgow major incidents
  1. David J Lowe1,2,
  2. Jonathan E Millar2,
  3. Neil Dignon1,3,
  4. Alastair Ireland1
  1. 1Emergency Department, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Glasgow, UK
  2. 2Department of Anaesthesia, Critical Care & Pain, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  3. 3Emergency Medical Retrieval Service, Glasgow, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr David Lowe, Emergency Department, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Castle Street, Glasgow G4 0SF, UK; davidlowe{at}

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In November 2013 and again in December 2014, two major incidents were declared at Glasgow Royal Infirmary (GRI). The first was in response to the Clutha bar tragedy,1 in which a helicopter crashed into a crowded pub on a busy Friday night, and the second, when a bin lorry lost control while travelling towards George Square,2 as hundreds of people went about their Christmas shopping. Both locations are within 1.5 miles of GRI and were attended by the emergency services and augmented by the Emergency Medical Retrieval Service, who expertly managed both scenes and facilitated safe and timely transfer to GRI and other receiving hospitals.

GRI is an inner city tertiary referral centre with 900 beds and has an ED, which sees in excess of 85 000 attendances per year. Subsequent to both events, reviews were conducted at health board, hospital and departmental level. In addition, GRI has a well-established trauma group, made up of specialties involved in the management of major trauma, which meets to enhance the co-operation between teams. Our hospital updates our major incident planning regularly due to the large number of international events such as the Commonwealth Games.

Significant learning has been gained from these unfortunate events and a number of changes have been implemented in relation to major incident planning as well as to the processes in place for trauma care more generally. Following each of the incidents action points were generated from our trauma team meetings, formal major incident debrief and our ED's own internal review. The recommendations from these …

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  • Twitter Follow Jonathan Millar at @jemillarni and David Lowe @djlmed

  • Contributors DJL and JEM conceived and wrote the article. ND and AI contributed substantially to the concept and review of the article.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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