Expecting the unexpected: 'Major incidents are easy.'
Managers from Greenwich Healthcare trust are still discussing the Dome's emergency medical services with the New Millennium Experience Company, the Dome's organisers. Facilities are expected to include several first- aid posts and one medical centre, staffed by nurse practitioners on a rota from three south London accident and emergency departments - Greenwich Hospital, Lewisham Hospital and Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup.
Caren Swift, a nurse practitioner and director of surgery at Greenwich Hospital, who is helping to design the Dome's medical service, points out that most visitors to the Dome during 2000 who need healthcare will be treated on site. The medical centre will have anaesthetic and defibrillating equipment, she says.
It has not yet been decided whether a doctor should be present, but there will be communication links with the casualty department at Greenwich Hospital. Only major emergencies - such as heart attack patients - will be transferred to the department after being stabilised, she says. 'It would be foolish to say we will be unaffected.'
She says the department will probably need extra cubicle space and will review staff and other requirements, adding: 'But I am not convinced we need extra staff.'
On millennium eve, the casualty department will be prepared as if for a major incident. But the possibility of one happening at the Dome at some point does not cause undue alarm. 'Major incidents are easy,' says Ms Swift. 'When one a major incident occurs the hospital goes into overdrive.'