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J R Soc Med. 1991 Jan;84(1):4-8.

Psychological aftermath of the King's Cross fire.

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  • 1Academic Department of Psychiatry, University College and Middlesex School of Medicine, London.


The King's Cross fire occurred at the end of the evening rush hour, on 18 November 1987. King's Cross station is within the department's health district and we felt a responsibility to respond to the psychological aftermath. The unique features of our intervention were the degree of inter agency coordination, the use of a systematic outreach and screening programme, the collection of psychotherapy outcome measures and the development of an ongoing clinic. The work represents a sustained attempt to assess the nature and prevalence of post-traumatic reactions and the most medically and economically effective form of intervention. In this paper we describe the way our team responded to the high level of psychological distress that we found, we present some preliminary results, outline two therapeutic trials, and refer to the longterm consequences for the work of our department.

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