Medical reservists from 4626 Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron have been exercising at RAF St Mawgan in Cornwall, testing their skills to provide specialist medical care, wherever in the world it is required.
Medical reservists from 4626 Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron have been exercising at RAF St Mawgan testing their skills to provide specialist medical care, wherever in the world it is required.
The Oxfordshire based squadron is made up of doctors, nurses, paramedics, medics and support staff, most of whom will be taking back these enhanced skills to their day jobs in the NHS.
The primary purpose of the exercise has been to take over a tented Role 1 Lead medical facility from RAF regulars and triple its size to become a Role 1 Enhanced. During the four-day exercise, based around humanitarian aid to refugees, they have treated hundreds of volunteer ‘patients’ with conditions ranging from infections to major trauma. What makes this achievement outstanding is that RAF Medical Reserves have never exercised on this scale before.
The part-time reservists were bombarded with mass ‘casualties’ in highly credible scenarios designed to test every aspect of this invaluable unit, from pre-hospital care to in-flight nursing. With some mock patients wearing theatrical make-up so realistic the images cannot be published, the experienced medical professionals participating described it as the best medical exercise they have ever seen.
Flight Lieutenant Hazel Luck (right) and Flight Sergeant Lou Davey (left) treating a mock patient during a major exercise.
On her very first exercise with the RAF was 45-year-old medic, Senior Aircraftman Paula Colclough, an assistant practitioner in an emergency department in Somerset. Paula joined the RAF Reserves one year ago because she wanted to do something more meaningful with the spare time she found she had now that her children had grown up. Following her flight in a C-130 Hercules as part of the aeromedical evacuation team, she said:
“I didn’t know what to expect before I joined the reserves because I’ve got no military background. I’ve pushed myself so hard you don’t realise how much you’ve achieved until you look back.”
Leading a small medical team from the US Air Force Reserve who joined the exercise, Colonel Sam Berringer said:
“What has been very unique has been to look at how the RAF Reserves and US Air Force Reserve have integrated, become team members and become great friends. I would go to war with that team any day of the week – just incredible people. I was real proud to be part of that exercise with them.”
In charge of the Squadron is Wing Commander Colin Mathieson. He said:
“We are looking for people that are looking to develop themselves, challenge themselves, whilst having a lot of fun while they are doing it. In particular we are looking for GPs, anaesthetists, specialist burns nurses, emergency medical practitioners and paramedics. This exercise has proved once again that regulars and reserves work seamlessly together and shows that the RAF continues to deliver an outstanding worldwide medical capability.”
Source / Author: RAF
Editor: Flying Officer Peter Lisney
Photograph: Corporal Lee Goddard and Leading Aircraftman Rob Bourne
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