russell-watkins_dfid-s-reaneyv1Healthcare workers committed to emergency humanitarian response are invited to join the UK-Med Community of Practice. Through the Community of Practice, UK-Med develops, trains and recruits clinicians and allied health professionals who volunteer their services to respond at times of crisis and conflict.

UK-Med is a partner in the delivery of the UK Emergency Medical Team (UKEMT) programme, and provides a training pathway for this as a core part of our work.


  1. Introduction
  2. On-call teams
  3. How can I join an on-call team?
  4. Training
  5. Recruitment process
  6. Team Criteria for the UK Emergency Medical Team (UKEMT)

Introduction to UK Emergency Medical Teams (UKEMT)

UK-Med recruits and trains an on-call rota of clinicians and allied health professionals to meet the needs of the UKEMT programme, in partnership with Handicap International (HI).

Over the past five years, the EMT network initiative driven by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has begun to make a great impact. The initiative aims to ensure that governments and people affected by sudden-onset disasters and outbreaks can be assured a predictable and timely response by trained and self-sufficient medical teams.

The UKEMT is committed to achieving international minimum standards within a globally coordinated response system.

On-call teams

The UKEMT ensures teams are prepared and ready to respond as a Type 1 Fixed team and/or a Type 2.

A Type 1 Fixed Team is characterised as follows:

  • UK Aid logo
    Funding for UKEMT is provided by the Department for International Development (DfID)

    Must be capable of treating at least 100 outpatients per day

  • Key Services:
    • Triage, assessment and first aid
    • Stabilisation and referral of severe trauma and non-trauma emergencies
    • Definitive care for minor trauma and non-trauma emergencies
  • Should be in a position to stay 2-3 weeks or even longer if they are in specialised cell
  • They should arrive at the fastest possible time ideally within 24-48 hours
  • Be able to work from existing structure or supply their own fixed or mobile  outpatient facilities

A Type 2 Team is characterised as follows:

  • Provide inpatient acute care, general and obstetric surgery for trauma and other major conditions
  • Surgical triage and assessment
  • Advanced life support
  • Definitive wound and basic fracture management
  • Damage control surgery
  • Emergency general and obstetric surgery
  • Inpatient care for non-trauma emergencies
  • Basics anaesthesia, X-ray, sterilisation, laboratory and blood transfusion
  • Rehab services and patient follow-up
  • Available for at least 3 weeks but ideally longer

How can I join the UKEMT programme?

In order to be selected to be on-call for an emergency deployment with the UKEMT programme, clinicians and allied health professionals must successfully complete UK-Med’s core training and satisfy a number of key requirements relating to:

  • Health assessment
  • DBS check
  • References
  • NHS trust release and finance agreement

On successful completion of the core training, members will remain on a register for future opportunities. This could be as a team member for another full on-call period or to provide cover for a shorter period of time for a specific speciality.

All members of the UK-Med Community of Practice will be considered for selection to the training courses as part of recruitment to a UKEMT on-call team. The initial round of selection considers specialism; grade and years qualified in specialism; training history; deployment history and work experience. A rigorous process of selection and recruitment follows, including interview and assessment.

It is therefore important that members keep their online profile populated and up-to-date with key information.


In order to join an on-call UKEMT, all team members must have satisfied the minimum training requirements and complete a number of eligibility requirements and preparations. More information about the UKEMT Core Training Programme can be found on the Training section of our website.

Recruitment Process

The following steps apply for joining an on-call UKEMT

  1. Join the UK-Med Community of Practice and complete your online profile in full.
  2. All Community of Practice members will be considered as part of the recruitment and selection process.
  3. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you will be invited to join a UK-Med Pre-Deployment Course (successful completion of the course remains valid for three years).
  4. If you meet the team requirements and the eligibility for a UKEMT we will approach you to ascertain your availability to join the register and a specific on-call period. At this stage we also require you to indicate whether you have support in principle from your Trust.
  5. If you are selected for an on-call UKEMT, you will be invited to join a Deployment Course as a proposed member of a team.
  6. Before the Deployment Course we require you to provide/complete:
    • A professional reference (satisfactory professional references must be received for a clinician to proceed to join a UKEMT, i.e. to confirm that the candidate is not subject of a current disciplinary procedure, formal employment proceedings or deemed unsuitable to engage in a programme of humanitarian response)
    • Complete requirements on your online profile as guided by the UK-Med team
    • Complete the IFRC Stay Safe e-learning course
    • Submit an Enhanced and Barred DBS check
  7. On successful completion of a Deployment Course you will be required to successfully complete the following, in order to be fully confirmed as on-call:
    • Documentation of release signed by your employer and yourself agreeing to the terms of release
    • Finance documents completed i.e. estimated weekly costs should you be deployed
    • Pre-Deployment health screening

Disclosure and Barring Service Check (DBS)

As clinicians and allied health professionals will be working with vulnerable adults and children in the event of deployment, all members of the UK-Med register and UKEMT members are required to undertake an enhanced DBS check and be issued with a satisfactory certificate as a safeguarding measure. Any identified disclosures are risk assessed and procedures are compliant with the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. Upon issue of an Enhanced DBS certificate, candidates are strongly advised, within 19 days, to subscribe annually to the DBS Update Service to maintain a ‘live’ certificate to reduce their administrative burden.

Pre-Deployment Health Screening

Compliance with pre-deployment health screening is an essential requirement for all members of the UKEMT to ensure fitness to deploy. Health screening is undertaken by the Well Travelled Clinic (WTC), Liverpool (or a partner clinic approved by WTC) in advance of the on-call period. Candidates are required to attend for a face-to-face consultation and to complete a full vaccination schedule as advised. A suitable antimalarial medication is identified during the consultation that would be issued by WTC in the event of deployment. A fit to deploy letter is issued by WTC which is held on record by UK-Med and is shared with the clinician.

Employer Release

Each healthcare worker going forward to join the UKEMT must have advance approval and support from their employer in order to be released in the event of a deployment to a humanitarian emergency. This requires the person with the appropriate authority within a place of employment to agree to the role and responsibilities outlined in the UK-Med release document, which must be signed by the employer, clinician and by UK-Med and held on record to confirm all parties acceptance of the terms.

Estimated Cost for Deployment

In advance of being on-call, UK-Med will work with members to establish a satisfactory estimated weekly cost to deploy for each healthcare worker that joins a UKEMT. This cost is based on basic-rate salary and must comply with an appropriate NHS-equivalent pay scale and comparable salary information held by UK-Med from previous on-call periods. Once agreed, this information is held on record by UK-Med as the agreed maximum cost that would be paid per week if the healthcare worker is called to deploy to a humanitarian emergency with the UKEMT.

Team Criteria for UKEMT

UKEMT on-call teams are structured to ensure readiness to deploy as either a Type 1 Fixed Response (Essential Emergency Health Team) and/or a Type 2 Response (Surgical Specialist Cell).

Given the scope of practice and the decisions that healthcare workers face on deployment to a humanitarian emergency, it is vital that teams comprise of senior healthcare professionals. To be eligible to join the UKEMT, a healthcare worker must meet the criteria outlined below.

Teams should comprise clinicians and allied health professionals with a range of experience in both humanitarian and austere environments to support those who are deploying for the first time.

Profession Requirements
Surgeons:  Trauma, General, Orthopaedic, Obstetrics, Plastics Consultant
Anaesthetists Senior level – Minimum ST8 (One Consultant on team essential)
Emergency Department Doctors Senior level – Minimum ST6 (One Consultant on team essential)
General Medical Doctors Minimum ST6
General Practitioners (GP) Fully qualified (post CCT)
Paediatric Doctors Minimum ST6
Midwives Minimum 5 years post-qualified
Nurses (inc. Paediatric Nurses) Minimum 5 years post-qualified
Operation Department Practitioners (ODP) Minimum 5 years post-qualified
Operating Theatre Nurses Minimum 5 years post-qualified
Paramedics Minimum 5 years post-qualified
Pharmacists Minimum 5 years post-qualified
Pharmacy Technicians Minimum 5 years post-qualified
Physiotherapists Minimum 5 years post-qualified
Radiographers Minimum 5 years post-qualified
Epidemiologists Minimum 5 years post-qualified
Laboratory Technicians Minimum 5 years post-qualified
Data Managers Minimum 5 years post-qualified