Medic tells of 'professional pride' in NHS team effort after terror attacks

A NHS medic who responded to some of Britain's worst terror attacks has described his experiences working on the front line.

Kevin Fong said he had learnt to take "professional pride" in events which are "emotionally negative" after treating victims of the London Bridge atrocity, 7/7 bombings and 1999 Soho nail-bombing.

He told Kirsty Young on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs that it was not "heroic individuals" who responded to attacks, but an "army of people" working together.

Dr Fong, a consultant anaesthetist at University College London hospitals, said the Soho bombing was the "most difficult" he had dealt with, as it was the first time he had witnessed first-hand the aftermath of such violence.

The nail-bomb was detonated at the Admiral Duncan pub in Old Compton Street, leaving three people dead and injuring dozens more.

David Copeland was later sentenced to six life sentences for the attack.

Dr Fong said: "I did find it hard in the weeks that followed that. I think that was when I learnt that you could separate something.

"That something could be at the same time horribly, horribly emotionally negative, but you could take some professional pride in how you conducted yourselves and what you had done."

He was also on duty when the alarm was raised following the London Bridge attack in June.

Describing the team response in hospital, he said: "This is not any heroic individual, or even a small group of heroic individuals.

"This is an army of people who are moving to a plan that's put in place and you look across the bed and you look across the bay and there are dozens of people."

He added: "You are a single unit, and on those nights, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts."

Dr Fong, who is also an expert on space medicine, admitted that working as a medic in the NHS is "tough".

He said: "The thing about it, as a system, is that because of the dedication of the people involved it's a sort of self-balancing, self-correcting system. It copes but it gets harder all the time.

"It's not okay to say that we just need to work a bit smarter and it's all going to be okay. It's not."

:: Desert Island Discs is on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday at 11.15am.