PHOTO GALLERY: Chemical spill practise drill at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn

Exercise tests how staff would respond in an emergency.

There's been an accident. Information's now coming in about a major chemical spill in King's Lynn.

Casulaties are on their way here now. And some of them may have been contaminated.

That was the scenario today as staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital took part in an emergency drill.

It began with an accident on nearby Wootton Road. But as more details emerged, it became clear a chemical lorry was involved.

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A&E staff put up a decontamination tent outside the hospital's main entrance.

Two of them donned chemical protection suits, causing patients and visitors to do a double-take - were they deep sea divers, or astronauts..?

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'The idea is to test our systems and find out whether there are any weak spots which need to be improved,' said Richard Humphries, the hospital's communications manager.

Staff stood by to play the part of casualties. Both casualties and medical workers exposed to chemicals have to be washed down and decontaminated before they are allowed to enter the hospital.

A hose was led to the decontamination tent, as a female casualty stripped down to a swimsuit and the curtains were drawn. There were screams as the hose was turned on, suggesting one immediate area for improvement. 'The water is obviously only mildly warm in there,' said one member of staff.

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