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London Olympics: Disease-check legacy of Games
3 years ago

London Olympics: Disease-check legacy of Games

 

Olympic stadium

The NHS expects some days to be like New Year's Eve during the Olympics

 

Imagine an entire season of Premier League football matches running in the same venue within several weeks.

 

That is how one health official is summing up the scale and the challenge of preparing for the 2012 Olympics.

 

There will be health legacies from the Olympics: the Health Protection Agency (HPA) says the Games will leave the UK with one of the world's best disease surveillance systems.

 

And a special polyclinic - looking after athletes and spectators on the main site - will stay open afterwards.

 

But transport congestion during the Games is the main factor that could cause problems for the NHS - not just for staff, but also for patients and supplies trying to reach hospitals.

 

NHS leaders in London are trying to make sure the health service can perform its "business as usual" without becoming too stretched during the Games.

 

They hope the NHS will stay below the radar, in terms of not attracting negative headlines.

 

Health officials co-ordinate efforts to protect the public from disease during the Olympics

The Health Protection Agency has an Olympics co-ordination centre

 

Big spike in drunks

 

The Health Protection Agency has an Olympics co-ordination centre

The party atmosphere, starting with the Jubilee weekend and ending with the Paralympics, means the workload in hospitals will feel more like winter levels than summer ones.

 

Staffing decisions are down to individual managers - but the NHS will still be expected to do its normal work and hit targets.

 

Figures from the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver showed a big spike in drunk people turning up at hospital.

 

Planners at NHS London are expecting some days with similar pressures to New Year's Eve.

 

They are also predicting there might be higher levels of respiratory illnesses - either from infections being passed around or from conditions such as asthma.

 

The hope is that pharmacists will deal with minor illnesses, or point patients in the direction of walk-in centres, to take the pressure off busy accident and emergency departments.

 

Streets clogged

 

Pharmacist Farhad Hodabaksh

Farhad Hodabaksh runs a pharmacy near the main Olympics venue

 

The east London pharmacy run by Farhad Hodabaksh is a hive of activity, even on an ordinary weekday morning.

 

As many as half a million foreign visitors are expected in the area during the Games.

 

Farhad is ordering extra supplies to cope with customers who have insect bites or sunburn, and those needing emergency contraception.

 

And he's re-arranging medicine deliveries, in anticipation that his part of Newham, east London, will become clogged with traffic.

 

He said: "We deal with GP surgeries in Stratford, near the main events. So we're advising patients to order their regular medication in time - don't leave it to the last minute.

 

"And we're looking at getting our driver to deliver medicine later in the day, probably in the evening. Luckily our driver is quite flexible."

 

Steve Fishwick, from the National Pharmacy Association, said: "Pharmacists in this part of the world will come into their own during the Olympics, and are likely to be the first port of call for many people."

 

Page 1    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17900739

 

3 years ago

Food poisoning

 

Planning began when the Olympic bid was launched eight years ago for Dr Brian McCloskey, who is co-ordinating the HPA's preparations.

 

At a special co-ordinating centre, his team are rehearsing what will become a daily situation report for key parts of government, on infectious diseases circulating in the UK during the Games.

 

Although the Olympics hub is London - and the city is at higher risk because of its connections to other parts of the world - visitors will also be at events in Dorset, Newcastle and Manchester.

 

Dr McCloskey told me: "The worst scenario we're planning for is a pandemic involving flu or a Sars-type outbreak. But we live with that possibility all the time - not just with the Games.

 

"The likely thing is that we will see outbreaks of food poisoning involving diarrhoea and vomiting - because that happens every summer.

 

"We're anxious about that because there will be a lot of extra food outlets around the Olympic Park.

 

"We will need to make sure we can get on top of those outbreaks quickly so they don't spread."

 

Good hand hygiene will therefore be important - but the HPA says reports of competitors being discouraged from shaking hands are simply scare stories.

 

There'll be free water points in the Olympic Park to stop people getting dehydrated.

 

Systems for picking up patterns of unusual symptoms have been expanded to include a wider range of NHS sources, including out-of-hours and hospital emergency departments.

 

Dr McCloskey said: "The UK will probably have the best surveillance systems in the world after these Games.

 

"We've also brought in a new test for gastro-enteritis, which can tell us within hours rather than days what the organism is causing it.

 

"And our testing has become more advanced for respiratory viruses. It means we can test for a whole range at one time - and quickly pick out something that is unusual and scary."

 

The officials behind the planning effort are comforted by the fact that the health service has previously coped well with unexpected events, such as swine flu and riots.

More on This Story
3 years ago

Ray, isn't it amazing what all Countries have to go through to prepare for the Olympics?  Having to deal with even the health issues is something most people don't consider; we think of preparing for injured athletes but we forget about both the athletes, trainers, coaches, and even the people coming to watch the games; amazing all the preparation to make sure there is adequate treatment areas set up for all of this, not to mention that the hospitals are prepared for a potential elevation in numbers of people requiring their services.  Just that one area alone is going to require so much preparation.

3 years ago

Linda, you are not Joking, everything seems to be clashing all at once, as you know, we have Wimbledon in June, Games in June and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee starts in June, so London will be very busy from June onwards,

 

I know there have been a number of Brits displaced from their home to free properties for visitors from abroad also, but a word of caution, be carefull of Landlords rent out properties for a few weeks, the rents they are charging are out of this world, it would be cheaper to book into an Hotel in my opinion.

 

After reading the report above on the Health Care and Treatment, I think they have it all covered, well I hope they have,

 

Security which forms another very part of the games, I know some of the Security that the Home Office are having in Place which I will post on this thread, however, 

 

Policing, I have not had much infromation as yet, But I know the US Police remain in the UK, and more than likely be used as part of the Security Policing in the UK while the games are going on, as we have made our views plain, that normal domestic Police must carry on also while the games are going on.

 

I am now going to post the Military Security that will be in force

 

 

Olympic security
3 years ago

RAF Typhoon jets arrive in London to test Olympic security

Air Commodore Gary Waterfall told the BBC's Jonathan Beale they are ''ready to respond'' to any threats   Video on web-site

 

Royal Air Force Typhoon jets have arrived at an airbase in London for a large-scale Olympic security exercise.

 

The aircraft will be based at RAF Northolt, taking part in eight days of training over London and the home counties until 10 May, as part of operation Exercise Olympic Guardian.

 

It is the first time fighter jets have been stationed at the west London site since WWII.

 

But anti-military campaigners warn the jets will create a "climate of fear".

 

The Typhoon jets, which can travel at up to 1,370 miles per hour, will put pilots through their paces, testing security in the skies ahead of their vital role during the 2012 Olympic Games, which start in July.

 

Military chiefs have alerted residents in south-east England about the operation, warning that they will notice an increase in often loud air activity, especially on 4 and 5 May.

 

Bringing 'real fear'

Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond said: "Whilst there is no specific threat to the Games, we have to be ready to assist in delivering a safe and secure Olympics for all to enjoy."

 

He said the Typhoon operation at RAF Northolt underlined the "commitment of the Ministry of Defence and our armed forces to keeping the public safe at a time when the world will be watching us".

 

But the Stop the War Coalition has criticised the move as "unacceptable", arguing that heavy military activity in the capital will cause unnecessary fear.

 

Lindsey German of the campaign group said ordinary people should not be forced to put up with the measures.

 

"Far from safeguarding Londoners as they go about their daily lives, they will bring a real fear of explosions and the prospect of these places becoming a target for terrorist attack."

 

"We are told by the Government that the war in Afghanistan is being fought so that we don't have to fight on the streets of London", she said.

 

"These manoeuvres give the lie to that, and show that the war has made Britain a more dangerous place."

 

Air Vice-Marshal Stuart Atha, air component commander for Olympics air security, said the training was "essential" and in line with "preparations for most Olympics" in recent years.

 

"What we have is just prudent precautionary measures in place in the unlikely event that a threat from the air does manifest itself."

 

He denied fighter aircraft would be patrolling the skies as a matter of course throughout the summer, adding the operation "would not set a precedent for any sort of enduring military commitment" in the area.

 

"This is a once in a generation event and I think the UK public would expect us to be prepared for this", he said.

 

'Strong support'

However, he added the MoD would try to keep the amount of flying to a minimum, balancing the need to reduce disturbance with the key aim of ensuring forces are "ready for their important role delivering air security for the Olympics".

 

"We hope that people will understand the need for this very important training, and we thank them for their continued strong support", he said.

 

Exercise Olympic Guardian is taking place on land, sea and air in the London and Weymouth areas between 2 May and 10 May.

 

Page 1  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17922490

3 years ago

The security operations will also include:

  • Royal Navy Sea King helicopters based at RAF Northolt
  • RAF Puma helicopters and Royal Navy airborne early warning helicopters stationed at a Territorial Army centre in Ilford, east London
  • The berthing of HMS Ocean at Greenwich, with a number of Royal Navy Lynx helicopters on board
  • The deployment of HMS Bulwark and other ships to Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour
  • The operation of fast jets and helicopters over Greater London and the Home Counties
  • 13,500 military personnel will be involved in protecting the games

It was also recently revealed that surface-to-air missiles could be deployed at six sites in London during the games.

 

Last month, a sonic boom from two Typhoon aircraft that were responding to an emergency signal was reported to have been heard in Bath, Coventry and Oxford.

 

Page 2    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17922490

3 years ago

 

Military begins Olympic security exercises in London

A Rapier short-range air defence system at Blackheath, London
Surface-to-air missiles could be deployed at six sites in London during the Games

Related Stories

A large-scale exercise to test the military contribution to the Olympics security effort has been taking place.

 

Tests of air defence missile systems at six sites across London using dummy armaments have begun.

 

And Typhoon jets, based at RAF Northolt in west London, will take to the skies over south-east England with Lynx, Sea King and Puma helicopters.

 

Exercise Olympic Guardian, which goes on until 10 May, will also see HMS Ocean sail to Greenwich in the capital.

 

Military chiefs have warned residents of an increase in loud air activity.

 

The exercises are testing how RAF personnel, soldiers and sailors will intercept and communicate with aircraft breaching restricted airspace during the London Games, which start in July.

 

The Ministry of Defence said the operations were building on the air force's existing defence of UK airspace.

 

Under the Air Security Plan, 30-miles (48km) of airspace surrounding the Olympic Park would become a restricted flying zone.

 

On the ground, the RAF will provide mobile ground radar systems, while the Army deploys air observers and high-velocity missiles.

 

The observers would be placed at 14 sites to spot potential air threats using binoculars with thermal imaging detecting systems.

 

Helicopters with Royal Air Force regiment snipers could also be used to intercept aircraft that entered the restricted airspace without permission, the RAF said.

Royal Marine commandos off Weymouth and Portland on 3 May 2012

Royal Marine commandos took part in a security exercise off Weymouth and Portland

 

The arrival of the Typhoon jets at RAF Northolt marked the first time fighter planes have been stationed there since World War II.

 

The operations also include the deployment of HMS Bulwark and other ships to Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour.

 

Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond said: "Whilst there is no specific threat to the Games, we have to be ready to assist in delivering a safe and secure Olympics for all to enjoy."

 

He said the Typhoon operation at RAF Northolt underlined the "commitment of the Ministry of Defence and our armed forces to keeping the public safe at a time when the world will be watching us".

 

But the Stop the War Coalition has criticised the move as "unacceptable", arguing that heavy military activity in the capital will cause unnecessary fear.

 

Lindsey German of the campaign group said: "Far from safeguarding Londoners as they go about their daily lives, they will bring a real fear of explosions and the prospect of these places becoming a target for terrorist attack."

 

Page 1     http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17934042

 

 

 

 



This post was modified from its original form on 13 May, 8:21
3 years ago

Lindsey German of the campaign group said: "Far from safeguarding Londoners as they go about their daily lives, they will bring a real fear of explosions and the prospect of these places becoming a target for terrorist attack."

 

The surface-to-air missiles, which officials said would be protected by armed police, were unveiled at Blackheath Army Cadet Centre in south London.

 

Military chiefs said two locations have been identified as potential sites for the high velocity missiles if its Air Security Plan wins government approval.

 

The Lexington Building in the Bow Quarter apartment complex in Bow, Tower Hamlets, and the Fred Wigg Tower in Waltham Forest both have clear views of the Olympic Park in Stratford.

 

The longer-range Rapier missiles would be positioned on Blackheath Common and in Oxleas Wood, both in south-east London, and at William Girling Reservoir Chain in Enfield and Barn Hill at Netherhouse Farm in Epping Forest, both in north London.

 

The announcement of the potential locations comes as a resident of the Bow Quarter posted a video of what he claims are missiles left in the complex.

 

Journalist Brian Whelan is challenging the management company after residents were told a missile system could be put on a water tower.

 

Mr Whelan's video contains footage of what he describes as "unguarded military rockets" at the foot of the tower. "There is nobody around this military equipment here. Crates, clearly full of missiles and not a person in sight," his voiceover says. Soldiers can be seen walking into shot at the end of the clip.

 

"The GBAD systems are fitted with practice, dummy missiles which pose absolutely no danger to the public," a spokesman said. "The video in question, taken by an individual who vocally opposes their potential deployment, clearly shows military personnel on the scene."

 

Air Vice-Marshal Stuart Atha, air component commander for Olympics air security, said the training exercise was "essential" and in line with "preparations for most Olympics" in recent years.

 

Some 13,500 military personnel are being deployed during the Olympics.

 

Sites identified as potential locations for Rapier and high-velocity missile systems

 

Missile sites

 

Page 2  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17934042

 

Rapier missile system
3 years ago

London Olympics: MoD shows off Rapier missile system

Help

A large-scale security exercise is under way to enable the military to prepare for the key role it will play during the London 2012 Olympic Games.

One option being considered is the deployment of surface-to-air missiles at key sites, a plan that has drawn criticism from some residents.

 

Col Jon Campbell, Commander, Joint Ground Based Air Defence, spoke to the BBC to explain how the Rapier missile system might be used to counter an aerial security threat.

 

Video             http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17943864

HMS Bulwark begins exercises
3 years ago

London 2012: HMS Bulwark begins exercises

The captain of HMS Bulwark said security would be "robust but discreet"

 Video on web-site

 

HMS Bulwark has been deployed off Weymouth and Portland as part of a security exercise ahead of the Olympics.

 

The amphibious assault ship will be used as the police command base during Olympic and Paralympic sailing events.

 

Assistant Chief Constable Adrian Whiting said: "Dorset Police will have access to the widest range of maritime capabilities and expertise."

 

Dorset is the largest Olympic and Paralympic venue outside of London.

 

Mr Whiting added: "Our role includes supporting the organisers and athletes by ensuring the fields of play on the water are safe and secure - an area of approximately 50 square miles.

 

HMS Bulwark

HMS Bulwark is an Albion class amphibious assault ship

 

"To do this, we will use small watercraft, including rigid hull inflatable boats and personal watercraft, as well as launches crewed by Dorset officers and marine police officers from other forces around the country."

 

Capt Alex Burton, of HMS Bulwark, said security at the Games would be "robust but discreet".

 

The operation is supported by the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force.

 

HMS Bulwark returns to Weymouth and Portland in July for the Games.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-dorset-17939763

Concern over Olympics security missiles
3 years ago

London 2012: Concern over Olympics security missiles

The Ministry of Defence has showcased the surface-to-air missiles which may be used in the Olympics as a "last resort" against terror attacks.

 

However, residents near Blackheath have raised concerns about their use.

 

Video         http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-17946907

 

HMS Bulwark in Olympic exercises
3 years ago

Navy ship HMS Bulwark in Olympic exercises

HMS Bulwark has been deployed off Weymouth and Portland as part of a security exercise ahead of the Olympics.

 

The amphibious assault ship will be used as the police command base during Olympic and Paralympic sailing events off the Dorset coast.

 

The BBC has been on board the ship during the exercise.

 

Video      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-dorset-17951458

HMS Ocean
3 years ago

London 2012: Olympic security exercise on board HMS Ocean

 

A large-scale exercise to test Britain's military capability ahead of the Olympics is under way.

 

A helicopter task-force is on board the Royal Navy's largest warship, HMS Ocean, to prepare for their role in defending London against any potential terror attack during the Games.

 

The BBC's Defence Correspondent, Jonathan Beale, reports from on board HMS Ocean.

 

Video           http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17951601

London 2012: 'No specific' terror threat, says minister
3 years ago

London 2012: 'No specific' terror threat, says minister

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond says there is no specific threat to the Olympic Games, saying the military would now "fade into the background"

 

There is no "specific" terror threat to the London 2012 Olympics, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has said.

 

He said an elaborate military exercise carried out in London last week was to prepare for any threats that might arise in a dangerous world.

 

And he told the BBC's Andrew Marr show he now wanted the military to "fade into the background".

 

The exercise included tests of air defence missile systems at six sites across London, using dummy armaments.

 

Typhoon jets, based at RAF Northolt in west London, also took to the skies over south-east England with Lynx, Sea King and Puma helicopters.

 

Exercise Olympic Guardian, which ran until 10 May, also saw HMS Ocean sail to Greenwich in the capital.

 

Mr Hammond told Andrew Marr: "The idea now is that the military will fade into the background.

 

"We don't want to dominate these games.

 

"We want it to be a festival of sport and of culture, but the military will be there and we want people to know that the military are there in the background to provide ultimate reassurance."

 

He said the air defence operations would build on the Royal Air Force's existing defence of UK airspace.

 

"I am pleased to say there is no specific threat," he added.

 

Under the Air Security Plan, 30 miles (48km) of airspace surrounding the Olympic Park would become a restricted flying zone.

 

On the ground, the RAF will provide mobile ground radar systems, while the Army deploys air observers and high-velocity missiles.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-18049764

Sonic device deployed in London during Olympics
3 years ago

Sonic device deployed in London during Olympics

 

The LRAD 1000Xi

The company deny it is a weapon and say it can be used to "peacefully resolve uncertain situations"

 

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed a sonic device will be deployed in London during the Olympics.

 

The American-made Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) can be used to send verbal warnings over a long distance or emit a beam of pain-inducing tones.

 

The equipment was spotted fixed to a landing craft on the Thames at Westminster this week.

 

The manufacturer denies it is a weapon and the MoD said it would be used "primarily in the loud hailer mode".

 

A spokesman for the San Diego-based LRAD Corporation said the1000Xi was "an effective long range communications system that broadcasts focused, highly intelligible, multi-language messages, instructions and warnings over distances up to 3,000 metres to peacefully resolve uncertain situations".

 

Royal Marines operating in patrol craft from HMS Ocean are also heavily armed with conventional firearms.

 

The piercing beam of sound emitted by the device is highly directional. Some versions of the LRAD are capable of producing deafening sound levels of 150 decibels at one metre.

 

But the device, which was used this week during Exercise Olympic Guardian, can also be used to broadcast verbal warnings, such as ordering crowds to disperse.

 

LRAD Corporation has previously sold the device to the US Army, which deployed them in Iraq for crowd control.

 

They have also been bought by the US Navy and Air Force as well as a number of police forces worldwide.

 

It has been successfully used aboard ships to repel Somali pirates.

 

The panel-shaped LRAD is mounted onto steerable gimbals and said to be far more efficient than a normal loudspeaker.

 

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "As part of the military contribution to the police led security effort to ensure a safe and secure games, a broad range of assets and equipment is being used by our armed forces".

 

"This includes the LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device) which will be deployed during the Olympic Games primarily to be used in the loud hailer mode as part of the measures to achieve a maritime stop on the Thames."

 

The LRAD spokesman said: "LRAD systems are far superior to bullhorns, which have limited range and poor sound quality.

 

"LRAD systems enable homeland security and law enforcement personnel to communicate safely and clearly to individuals on land or water and assist in keeping high profile events safe for all participants."

 

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-18042528

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