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London 7/7 attacks: 'Hundreds may have been traumatised'

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Media captionPeople who saw the 7/7 scenes first-hand may be living with the effects of trauma, experts say

Hundreds of people who witnessed the 7/7 attacks on London's transport system may have fallen under the radar to get professional help, experts say.

Three bombs exploded on Tube trains in central London on 7 July 2005 with a final bomb detonating on a double-decker bus in Tavistock Square.

Fifty-two people died in the attacks and hundreds were injured.

The focus was on the casualties, but uninjured bystanders may have suffered post-traumatic stress, medics fear.

Dr Andrew Hartle, who treated some of the casualties at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, said: "In Tavistock Square... hundreds if not thousands of people would have walked past the scene of that before emergency services were able to provide an effective cordon."

'Couldn't face trip'

The consultant anaesthetist said a significant number of those people were likely to have been affected by the experience.

And Chris Brewin, professor of clinical psychology at University College London, said: "We still don't know how many additional people might be out there who we weren't able to reach."

Image caption Ben Thwaites sought professional help a month after the 7/7 attacks

Ben Thwaites was on a Tube train near Edgware Road station when a bomb detonated nearby.

Although he was not injured, he said: "About a month after 7/7 I travelled into work in London and the train I was travelling in stopped exactly where we stopped on the day of the attack.

"I got to work that day and told them I couldn't do it any more. I couldn't face the trip in and the stress of being on the Tube trains each day."

Mr Thwaites was offered grief counselling through his GP for a period of about five weeks and was then able to attend a course in London that lasted several months.

In the aftermath of the attacks the authorities had contact details for about 900 people who may have been affected, of whom 600 were screened and about half of these had symptoms that required treatment.

The government health agency Public Health England is setting up an online register so that in the event of another major incident, anyone who feels they have been affected can be contacted and offered support.

Anyone who feels they may have been affected by the 7/7 attacks and would like support is advised to contact their GP.

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