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Thinking The Unthinkable


It was twelve months ago that the unthinkable happened. A terrorist attack on Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust (LWHFT), one of the NHS flagship hospitals, caring for some of our most vulnerable in society.


Luck shone on the Trust that morning; an individual armed with an explosive device was the only casualty from the subsequent explosion. The potential consequences are unimaginable and highlight that risks and major incidents occur when least expected.


The incident placed a spotlight on the priority given to the security and safety of people, premises and assets within the Trust's strategic vision and aims. Potentially placing service users, staff, and the Trust's reputation at risk.


The Trust CEO Kathryn Thomson recently outlined her reflections on the day and the subsequent response in the Health Service Journal. She acknowledges the outstanding reactions and instances of individual bravery and reflects on the opportunities to learn, strengthen the security model and enhance the Trust response to future major incidents.


The Trust commissioned Red Octopus Solutions (ROS) to undertake a specialist independent review of its security approach. The executive team required assurance that the Trust would maximise the opportunities to keep service users, workforce, assets, and premises safe and secure throughout future challenges.


ROS identified that the Trust had changed and evolved since implementing an EPRR response before the disbandment of NHS PROTECT in 2017. Future major incident responses were more likely to stem from criminal acts, natural disasters, or business continuity-related matters rather than terrorism. Therefore, it was a timely opportunity to evolve the security model to ensure it maximised service users, workforce, and community confidence.


Reviewing the Trust's security model and the interdependencies across four key areas Strategic direction, Protect, Prepare, and Effective response allowed ROS to provide the Trust with bespoke pragmatic and practical recommendations to enhance its security stance.


The findings developed through the LWHFT review are relevant to the wider NHS, and it is important that these lessons are shared to help others strengthen their security approach.


If you wish to undertake our free security assessment that will assist you in identifying vulnerabilities and testing current perceptions of security, don't hesitate to get in touch with Red Octopus Solutions directly. We hope it will be a catalyst to assist you in evolving your security stance and ability to respond to future major incidents effectively.


The review tool provided by ROS is complementary to the EPRR self-assessment required by NHS England. You will benefit from added value and assurance, which supports you in implementing, prioritising and embedding the minimum standards of the new EPRR guidance.


“The crisis you have to worry about most is the one you don’t see coming.”

Michael Mansfield


@nickleney @alanbarr @nickwilcox

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