Paramedics treat repatriated victims of the Asian tsunami disaster at Heathrow Airport

Medical staff from the London Ambulance Service are leading the care and support being provided at Heathrow Airport to returning British survivors of the tsunami that hit south-east Asia at Christmas.

A total of 30 emergency medical technicians and paramedics, in conjunction with workers from the British Red Cross, are staffing a medical treatment centre that has been set up in Terminal Four of Heathrow Airport.

The ambulance staff have assessed and, where necessary, treated the disembarking passengers from flights from the disaster-struck region. To date, of the thousands who have arrived at Heathrow, approximately 50 people have required treatment and seven have been transported to hospital.

Director of Ambulance Services Philip Selwood said: “The people we have seen so far have suffered mainly cuts and bruises but we can only imagine the emotional trauma that they have been through. Many of the survivors assessed by ambulance staff have been clearly distressed by their experiences.

“I am proud of the response from our staff which, with that of the other agencies, has been immediate and professional. We see it as our duty to be there to provide for the immediate welfare of these people when they return home.

“The Service has also been working closely with hospitals and other local NHS bodies to minimise the disruption to routine emergency healthcare and elective surgery in the area caused by the repatriation of this large number of injured people. Comprehensive planning arrangements have been put in place to ensure, where possible, a smooth onward journey home for survivors.”

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