Over the past two years, UK-Med has been undergoing the process to become verified as an EMT (emergency medical team) by the World Health Organization (WHO); a global ‘on-call’ system for responding to the increasing number of large disasters and war zones around the world.
Representatives from the WHO travelled from Geneva to north Yorkshire on Monday 20 June, where our field hospital was set up to demonstrate its ability to respond when disaster strikes.
After three days of delegation and testing, we’re delighted to announce that we have now passed the verification process and are now the only UK charity verified by the WHO’s EMT initiative to respond to international disasters and emergencies!
Meeting the global standards for delivering humanitarian healthcare
Emergency Medical Teams is a WHO Initiative which provides high quality emergency health care solutions in a range of humanitarian contexts.
The verified ‘Emergency Medical Team’ status means we can be called upon 24/7, 365 days a year, to fly anywhere in the world to take critical medical aid to where it is needed most and save lives internationally. As well as continuing our partnership with the UK government’s EMT and deploying with partners such as the IOM, we can now deploy independently as a charity in our own right.
David Wightwick, UK-Med CEO, said “Verification is part of a much longer story for UK-Med. UK-Med has been part of the development of Emergency Medical Teams since their inception following the 2010 Haiti earthquake, we have been a key part of taking the initiative forward since then.
Getting verified formalises the quality and expertise that UK-Med has to provide a far-reaching range of emergency medical support including a field hospital, surgical support, mobile health teams and clinical advisory teams.”
A Register of expertise from around the world
Rapid response to emergencies around the world is made possible by UK-Med’s on-call register which contains more than 1000 NHS and international doctors, nurses, paramedics, and logisticians. All of whom can be called up within 12 hours’ notice of an emergency.
“We aim to bring the best types of technical responses and standard of care to every country or context that we support, and I think this is one more validation of the work that we do. There are very few teams who have reached these global standards,” Dr Ram Vadi, UK-Med’s Health Director explains.
“It means we can demonstrate to that Ministry of Health that we’re supporting, and to the beneficiaries that we support, that we are bringing the highest standards of internationally recognised standards and that we will leave the system stronger, and more resilient.
“An organisation is the sum of its parts, and we want to thank all our members of staff as well as the health staff from the NHS and international health staff who work with us.”
Ready at a moment’s notice
UK-Med’s field hospital can be shipped anywhere in the world and built within 48 hours of arrival at the scene of a disaster or war zone. It contains a triage, emergency department, maternal unit and pharmacy which provides primary health care to up to 100 people a day.
The hospital is entirely self-sufficient with its own generated power, water supply and sanitation – meaning that patients can be treated within hours of our teams arriving at the scene of a disaster or emergency.
UK-Med has also sent a WHO approved surgical unit, specialising in treating war-wounded and reconstructing limbs, to east Ukraine where they are currently delivering medical aid in hospitals and mobile clinics using NHS staff. The surgical unit has been embedded within a hospital targeted by shellfire to replace its destroyed operating theatre.
David Wightwick explains, “The latest events in Afghanistan, the Covid-19 pandemic, and now in Ukraine, demonstrate global health emergencies are increasing. There has never been a more important to be there for people in crisis. We can be certain that there will be more disasters, emergencies and conflict.
UK-Med will be there when it happens taking the best of the NHS and UK healthcare across the world.”