Stoke & Staffordshire

Queen's Hospital A&E shuts in powder scare

Crews at the scene
Image caption Fire crews were called at about 13:00 BST

A hospital locked down its emergency unit after seven patients needed treatment for contact with an unknown powder.

The patients went to Queen's Hospital in Burton Upon Trent after coming into contact with the substance at work, a Hobbycraft distribution centre.

The A&E unit was closed and patients advised to attend Derby hospital.

Closing the department was in accordance with national guidance, a spokesman for the hospital said.

'Sorry for inconvenience'

The powder was later identified as an inert substance which posed no threat to health, the spokesman said.

Officers from Staffordshire Police attended in what they called a supportive role and ambulance crews were placed on standby.

Hobbycraft said its staff had since been released from the hospital.

"We can confirm that an incident took place at our Distribution Centre in Burton-on-Trent this morning, resulting in seven colleagues being taken to hospital as a precautionary measure," a spokesman said.

"The colleagues have all been released and we are co-operating with the police in relation to the matter."

Mark Powell, Director of Operations at the hospital said all other clinics and services functioned as normal during the incident.

The unit began to reopen at 16:00 BST, three hours after the patients were admitted.

The hospital apologised for any inconvenience caused to patients.

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