Admin Manager Lesley Wall

IT WAS a scene any disaster movie could claim. Stuntmen would have applauded the audacity of the plan to smash the powerful cab of an articulated HGV into a parked car, dragging it up the road, before crashing through railings. Momentum hurled it up a grassy slope to plough straight through the wall of a hospital, ending up in an elderly patient’s bathroom.

But this was no Steven Spielberg epic, no episode of Casualty or Holby City, this was reality – the actual event that happened at Leasowes Intermediate Care Centre, only a few weeks ago.

The centre, operated by Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust had 20

inpatients when the crash happened. Many staff were called upon to help the Trust continue to provide care, and one in particular – Admin Manager and grandmother-of-two Lesley Wall (55) from Langley, stepped up out of her comfort zone to help with the response.

As Chief Operating Officer for the Trust, Rachel Barlow arrived on scene to establish a silver command centre to deal with the immediate response, there was no trained loggist on site. It is a legal requirement to log every decision and action, so Lesley was asked to take on this essential role.

She explained: “I take minutes for meetings so I know about accuracy and speed, but a loggist is a specialist who must record everything to be signed off by the silver commander at the time. It is a very important role and crucial to get right.

“Although it was a period of high drama, everyone worked extremely efficiently, putting the patients first, so their care could continue as seamlessly as possible. It is frightening to think of the potential casualties we could have been dealing with.

“I heard that the car that was hit first belonged to a carer who had stopped to visit a patient. Apparently she got out of car at 7.15am and the lorry hit just seven minutes later.

“At the time it happened, patients would have been in their bathrooms, it was just lucky that the patient in that bedroom was not using her en-suite at the time. Only last week we changed our cleaning schedule so that bathrooms on the other side of the building are cleaned first, otherwise we could have had a member of staff actually cleaning the shower when the lorry hit.”

A keen baker, Lesley is taking on her next big challenge by baking her sister’s wedding cake in April.

She commented: “I’ll never forget the crash, it is the most dramatic event of my working life so far. In emergency situations, everyone just pulls together and you do whatever needs to be done. On the day I don’t think I did anything special, I was just doing my job.”