What we do
UK-Med provides emergency medical care in the aftermath of large and sudden-onset disasters. Healthcare workers committed to emergency humanitarian response are invited to join the UK-Med Community of Practice. Through the Community of Practice, UK-Med recruits, develops and provides training to clinicians and allied health professionals who volunteer their services to respond at times of crisis and conflict.
UK-Med was established as a charity in 1995 to facilitate the provision of healthcare workers from across the UK to support the hospitals in Sarajevo during the Balkans war. Subsequently, UK-Med has deployed teams to countries and crises including to China in 2008 following the Sichuan earthquake; to Haiti in 2010 following the earthquake; to the Philippines in response to Typhoon Haiyan (2013); to Gaza in 2014 following renewed conflict and to Nepal in response to the 2015 earthquake. UK-Med, in response to the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in Sierra Leone, funded by aid from the UK government, recruited and trained NHS volunteers for deployment to Ebola Treatment Centres.
UK-Med also works with colleagues in disaster-prone countries to increase their medical and surgical skills and knowledge, developing capacity to respond to disasters in their own country and region.
UK-Med is a core partner in the delivery of the UK Emergency Medical Team (UKEMT) programme funded by the Department for International Development (DFID). In line with World Health Organisation (WHO) aims, UKEMT members will be trained and prepared to respond to trauma, medical and public health emergencies. As part of this programme, UK-Med hosts registers of trained clinicians and allied health professionals (medical, trauma and public health) within the UK-Med Community of Practice.
Ebola Response Programme (UKIEMR for Ebola)
The UK was at the forefront of the response to the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in Sierra Leone. The UK Ebola Response Programme provided assistance to control the epidemic by supporting in-country frontline health workers and underpinning a fractured health system in Sierra Leone. The UK’s aim was to deliver high-quality patient care and support the national healthcare workers during the crisis, under the most challenging conditions.
UK-Med worked with the Department for International Development (DFID), Department of Health, NHS England and International NGOs to recruit NHS volunteers through its International Emergency Medical Register (UKIEMR for Ebola) to work in a number of DFID funded Ebola Treatment Centres in Sierra Leone. We also trained and prepared vital standby teams to be ready to deploy if required through to the close of the programme in November 2015. This programme was funded with UK Aid from the UK government.
Nepal Earthquake, 2015
Members of the register deployed to Kathmandu in response to the earthquake in Nepal in April 2015. Working with Save the Children and Handicap International, UK-Med supported the deployment of two trauma specialist teams. This was followed by spinal injury specialist cells that combined medical, rehabilitation and nursing staff to provide surge support to a Spinal Injury Centre.
In August 2014, UK-Med sent a surgical team to treat the victims of the renewed conflict in Gaza. The team treated wounded civilians and helped to establish a community-based rehabilitation programme for the longer term management of injuries. UK-Med and Handicap International supported a rehabilitation and nursing specialist cell to provide training and follow-up care for those with complex burns, amputations and spinal injury. As part of this six month rehabilitation programme, treatment was delivered in patients’ homes and family members were trained in on-going care.
Typhoon Haiyan, the Philippines, 2013
In a combined response with Save the Children and Handicap International, UK-Med deployed a team of twenty-one clinicians as part of the UK National response to Typhoon Haiyan. A public health team was dispatched to work in support of the WHO in Manila, a specialist surgical cell augmented the Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT) field hospital in Tacloban and emergency and primary care teams were deployed to the remote islands supported logistically by the Royal Navy.