BREAKING NEWS: Ebola emergency procedure tested on patient suspected to have virus on arrival at Bedford Hospital A&E

Bedford Hospital south wing accident and emergency.
Bedford Hospital south wing accident and emergency.

Bedford Hospital launched emergency Ebola procedures this week when a patient displaying symptoms of the deadly virus was admitted.

Tests later revealed that the poorly patient, who had a history of visiting West Africa, was not suffering from the highly contagious disease.

Medical staff donned protective clothing and the patient, who arrived at the hospital by ambulance, was put into quarantine under strict infection control procedures while tests were carried out on Tuesday.

Paramedics had rung ahead to let the hospital know that the patient, who was displaying symptoms of a fever, was coming in so that urgent preparations could be made.

A hospital spokesman said: “The patient was taken to a previously identified area adjacent to our A&E department, away from other patients, to undergo an assessment by clinical staff, who wore personal protective equipment.

“Ebola was considered very unlikely but testing was done as a precaution.

“The results of this test were negative and so the patient has continued to receive care at the hospital.

“We have well-prepared plans in place for managing suspected cases of Ebola and we are confident that all appropriate actions were taken by our staff to protect the public’s health and that of the patient.”

A blood test confirmed the patient was not suffering from the virus, which has claimed thousands of lives in West Africa. To date, there have been no cases of Ebola diagnosed in the UK but as a precaution people arriving from high risk countries are now being screened at Heathrow and Gatwick airports with others expected to follow suit in the coming weeks.

The hospital spokesman said: “The infection can only be transmitted through contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person.

“Public Health England has advised all frontline medical practitioners and NHS call handlers to be alert to signs and symptoms of Ebola in those returning from affected areas. Following such advice, an increase in testing is expected.”

The Disasters Emergency Committee is set to launch an unprecedented appeal for donations from the public to help tackle the growing crisis in West Africa. The TV appeal is being launched today.