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UK resilience to a chemical incident
  1. Samuel Alexander Clarke1 and
  2. A G A Weir2
  1. 1 Institute of Naval Medicine, Gosport, UK
  2. 2 Emergency Department, Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, Basingstoke, UK
  1. Correspondence to Samuel Alexander Clarke, Institute of Naval Medicine, Gosport PO12 2DL, UK; S.alexander.clarke{at}


Following the deliberate chemical attacks in Salisbury last year, a review of UK resilience to chemical incidence was undertaken. The scope was not limited to deliberate attacks, related to terrorism, but was to include non-deliberate and accidental events. Chemical incidents have wide-reaching consequences irrespective of whether they are deliberate or not. The effects of these incidents manifest themselves in terms of immediate health consequences and will also include economic, political and public health effects that may have a much longer impact than the initial disruption. The economic consequences of the Novichok attack were devastating to the local population and businesses in both the short term and the long term, being felt over a year later. This review discusses the effects of these incidents on infrastructure, healthcare provision, law and order, economics and government at a local, regional and national level. The NHS Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response Framework was reviewed, and this provides a basic outline of advice for local government to follow in the case of chemical incidents. However, the wider issues of interdepartmental co-operation and how to maintain a response in the long term require further thought. Moreover, the methods by which interagency and regional resilience is maintained in preparing for such an event require a clearer guideline.

  • public health
  • accident & emergency medicine
  • chemical weapons
  • toxicology

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  • Contributors Both authors have read the submitted draft and have agreed on it.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available on reasonable request.