An update on behalf of the UK EMT partners


Members of the UK EMT travelled to Bangkok, Thailand in June to take part in the World Health Organisation (WHO) Emergency Medical Teams (EMT) Global conference. The World Health Organisation EMT Initiative was established in 2014 to help nations develop their teams and capacity to respond to disease outbreaks, conflicts and sudden on-set disasters. Around 400 individuals attended the meeting from the 12th-14th June representing 90 countries and 200 organisations. David, Rachel and Lizzi represented UK-Med and the UK EMT along with representatives from all UK EMT partners including Tim Grimble, Jon Barden, Chris Pritchard and Pete Skelton. The aim of this meeting, now held every 3 years, is to bring together EMT’s from around the world to share knowledge and update progress across the regions and globally. The UK-Med team had a busy week with Rachel supporting the WHO AFRO region and outbreak response sessions, David taking part in panel discussions on field coordination, and Lizzi presenting at the Nursing and Midwifery Special Interest Group. UK-Med was also represented by experts in the field of IPC and obstetrics who contributed to sessions throughout the week. The team had an interesting meeting, and found the opportunity to meet with global colleagues and partners to discuss operational challenges and solutions very useful.

Spinal Cord Injury Cell verification

Following the success of the UK EMT 2015 Nepal earthquake response and subsequent discussions with the World Health Organisation and the International Spinal Cord Society, the Department for International Development have agreed to fund the development of a Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) specialist care team within the UK EMT. This additional capability will ensure that the UK EMT can effectively enhance SCI care in disaster response and recovery, support local capacity where available and ensure a continuum of care beyond their departure from the affected area.

In June the UK EMT ran a pilot training course for 16 register members across a range of clinical and operational backgrounds in readiness for WHO classification in 2020, along with five members of the Fire and Rescue Service logistics team in readiness to support the deployment.  Further training courses are expected to run in November 2019 and early 2020 so any interested register members should get in touch as a few spaces remain.

Sharing learning across EMT teams

The UK EMT was invited to attend and observe the AUSMAT Team Training Course and the AUSMAT Education Skills Course in May in Darwin, Australia. AUSMAT were one of the world’s first classified Emergency Medical Teams (EMTs).  Our relationship with AUSMAT started in 2014 when the UK EMT visited Australia to observe and attend their training course. The experience really helped to shape and inform how the UK EMT runs its own training courses today. UK EMT returned to Australia in May with our Training and Capacity Building Manager Helen Jordan representing UK-Med and representatives from the FRS (Fire Rescue Service).

Over the course of six days, a lot shared experiences and ways of working were exchanged. For example, the session on ‘other actors’ in the field was based around pre-reading for the course and allowed participants the chance to place actors on a timescale relating to when they would respond or be present within the context of a Sudden Onset Disaster. The inclusion of a local newspaper ‘Mosiland’ allowed participants the opportunity to think and research using ‘local’ knowledge and context and could be built into UK EMT exercises to allow higher fidelity with regards simulation.

EMT training

In June, 29 members attended our 5-day residential Deployment Course in Warcop, Cumbria and braved all weathers to complete the final stage of their UK EMT training pathway. Three existing register members also joined the group for one day to complete their update training. This is practical refresher training for register members that must be completed 3 years after their first Deployment Course if they have not deployed with UK-Med in this time in order to keep them up to date with latest EMT standards.

A group of register members also attended the Walking Blood Bank training in Birmingham on 22nd June. This workshop includes a session on the theory of whole blood donation and gives clinicians the practical experience of using the UK EMT equipment that will be available in the event of a deployment. Participants learned to use Eldon cards as a means to identify a person’s blood grouping and gained experience using blood bags and finally had the opportunity to practically test these skills on a plastic training arm.

Upcoming specialist training includes a Data Management training in late August, Clinical Leadership and Gender Based Violence training.

Invites to apply to attend the upcoming Nutrition in Emergencies course on 3rd – 4th October have been sent out by email to register members (this training is open to register members of all specialities who have completed their Deployment Course) and the deadline to apply is 31st July.

Logistics Update

When a disaster hits, time saves lives. That’s why in January 2019 a team of UK EMT partners began a four-month process of consolidation and modularisation of the entire UK EMT type 2 facility, its layout, kit and equipment at the DfID/Palladium warehouse in Gloucestershire. The drive was following feedback around improving patient flow, kit and equipment delivery and ways to get the field hospital out the door and built more quickly in-country.

The process aimed to allow the facility to deploy more rapidly and deliver early surgical care, allow the clinical team to support the logistics team during the build, reduce the weight and complexity of the entire UK EMT and identify and dispose of surplus or redundant kit or equipment.

The team were pleased to be able to reduce the weight of the inventory by 40 tonnes (and growing).  Each clinical module was built, its contents rationalised and then packed in specific crates – and the entire kit was also prioritised into Red, Amber, Green system, with dossiers detailing the contents and layout of each module now being developed. This will mean on deployment all essential equipment can be dropped outside specific areas, meaning clinicians can quickly start caring for patients. Also, by creating specific crated modules, the UK EMT can now cherry pick the clinical components it deploys. For example deploying just the operating theatre to deliver additional surgical capability, or the wards to expand in-patient bed numbers.

While the physical consolidation process has been completed, work is still ongoing. The end result will be a streamlined, flexible and more rapidly deployable EMT that can respond more regularly to more emergencies.

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