Emergency services – ready for the Tour de France

30 June 2014

Harrogate Hospital says it is ready for the Tour de France with the potential 100,000 or more additional visitors to the town.

Conservative estimates are indicating that 100,000 people will descend on Harrogate during day 1 of the Tour de France on 5 July 2014. The estimates do vary, and could be double that.

Doctor Alison Walker (pictured) is an Accident and Emergency Consultant for Harrogate Hospital and a lead within the trust for preparing for the Tour de France.

Doctor Walker said: As soon as we had information from the Council we started sharing it with the staff and have completed a number of presentations.

We have been showing staff how to get on the County Council website to look at and to see exact road closures.

What we are saying to staff is that we are all here for patient care and it’s our  responsibility to get to work.

But anyone who has had specific problems have been talking to their line managers.

As an example, we have one of our junior doctors that normally comes by train. However, on the morning his train won’t arrive until 10am, yet he starts at 8am – we have made special arrangements for him.

We are also telling staff to talk to  friends and family nearby to see if you can put them up.

With temporary, but significant increase in the towns numbers, the emergency services have geared up for the proportionate increase in incidents for them manage. The Air Ambulance will also have a 3rd helicopter in operation.

Doctor Walker said: We are expecting a significant increase in the local population for a while, so we are gearing up with additional doctors and nurses.

We have also increased the number of admin staff, physiotheraphy and pharmacy staff to help manage the flow of patients  – we are anticipating being able to see people within a reasonable time.

We may have a bit of a wave of people through the doors towards the end of the race though and there are also other events, such as the cup final we need to consider.

As normal though, we will see the most serious cases first using the triage system.

We also have arrangements in place that if we get large numbers at A&E with similar conditions then we can manage that.

Many of the spectator hubs will have medical support staffed with doctors and paramedics. We are not expecting many people to come to Harrogate hospital unless their condition is life threatening.

The ambulance service will be managing all their 999 calls in the usual way and have increased staffing.

The Hospital also treats many people in their homes and have put plans into place to ensure that still happens.

Doctor Walker said: Our Community Services staff would normally visit people over the weekend as it is a 7-days a week service. So what they have been looking at over the last few months is, for the people we know about now, where they are and what level of input they need.

We have then looked at where they are and where the race is with plans put place in how they are going to get to them and then link back into the hospital.

There are mainly people having their care in the community, but there are a small number of patients that may need things like renal care or chemotherapy at the hospital. They have all been looked and arrangement have been put in place, adjusting things around the road closures.

The hospital is also issuing general advice is using the 999 service and the non-emergency 111 number.

Doctor Walker said: Because it is over the weekend, we are recommending people to use 111 if they need general advice on a health issue – they can link into out of hours GP’s and give advice to use 999 if appropriate.

111 also hold a huge amount of information on health issues as well as local support such as out of hours dentists.

Harrogate will also have a bronze control hub, manned by all the emergency service along with the Borough and County Councils.

A spokesperson for North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said: North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service have plans in place to deal with any incidents that may occur during the Tour de France Race Weekend.

We will be placing some rapid response vehicles to certain locations along the route to ensure that we are able to respond to emergencies quickly and effectively despite the large numbers of visitors.

We are also standing up some of our retained staff, who wouldn’t normally be on station, (as normally they would respond to incidents from their homes or places of employment) on stations so that we can guarantee their availability and provide an immediate response.

We have designated officers in the (bronze control) hubs in each district as part of a multi-agency regional arrangement.

All of the emergency services are able to use specially designated emergency access points along the race route and have assigned other strategic routes to be kept clear for emergency access.

If anyone has an emergency over the race weekend, we would urge them to call 999 as normal.

The Policing will involve a collaboration amongst West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and North Yorkshire Police along with the French police and the Gendarmerie, who will be deployed on the race route.


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