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  1. ITV Report

Health workers take part in major drill to test Ebola readiness

Hospital staff wear protective clothing as they treat a would-be Ebola patient during the exercise Credit: Andrew Fox/DoH/PA Wire

Hospital, ambulance and government staff have been taking part in a large-scale exercise to test Britain's readiness for a potential case of Ebola.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he was "doubly reassured" that the government and emergency services were ready to respond to a person infected with Ebola arriving in the UK.

The simulation lasted for eight hours and involved a person feigning Ebola symptoms being transported by ambulance and treated in isolation in hospital.

One exercise, shown in the video below, saw a person collapsing in Gateshead shopping centre and being transported to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

In the exercise, the individual called 999 and was asked by the phone operator whether he had travelled abroad in the last four weeks.

When he said he had been to Sierra Leone - a country in West Africa where there has been an outbreak of Ebola - special procedures were put in motion.

Members of North East Ambulance Service wore protective clothing when handling the would-be Ebola patient.

Members of North East Ambulance Service wore protective clothing during the exercise Credit: Andrew Fox/DoH/PA Wire

He was then transferred to Royal Victoria Infirmary where he was assessed and placed in isolation. Samples were taken from the patient and sent for urgent testing at the Porton Down government science laboratories.

When Ebola could not be ruled out as a possibility, the patient was sent to the specialist isolation ward at the Royal Free Hospital in north London.

The would-be patient is transferred to a specialist isolation unit after being assessed Credit: Andrew Fox/DoH/PA Wire

In a separate case, a patient turned up to the Hillingdon walk-in centre in London with flu-like symptoms after having recently returned from West Africa.

Blood tests were again sent to Porton Down, Wiltshire, and the patient was taken to the Royal Free after being diagnosed with the disease. Public Health England also began tracing the contacts of the people involved.

Jeremy Hunt also chaired a simulated meeting of the emergency Cobra committee as part of the exercise.

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