The Military Operational Surgical Training (MOST) course - a collaboration between the Academic Department of Military Surgery and Trauma (ADMST), the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Joint Medical Command and the Royal College of Surgeons of England - is delivered twice a year to regular military and reserve Service clinicians about to deploy to Afghanistan.
The course breaks down traditional boundaries by delivering surgical trauma training to entire surgical teams, with general, orthopaedic and plastic surgeons training alongside anaesthetists, operating department practitioners, theatre nurses and emergency physicians. The course utilises the state-of-the-art clinical simulation facilities and specialist surgical training staff at the Education Centre of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.
Tutors with recent military operational experience and live links to surgeons in Afghanistan mean that training is up-to-date and based on real-life encounters on the battlefield, and ensures that the learning curve for teams, once deployed, is minimal.
The course won the Education and Training Award at last night’s Military and Civilian Health Partnership Awards which were held in Belfast. The awards are a partnership between the Ministry of Defence and the Health Departments of Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales.
Surgeon Captain Mark Midwinter, Defence Professor of Surgery at ADMST, and MOST course convenor, said:
I am absolutely delighted that MOST has won the award for Education and Training. The course is based on the idea that it is unacceptable to have a learning curve in delivering surgical trauma care to the wounded in the field.
We teach surgical teams how to deliver the best possible outcome for patients, rather than purely focusing on individual task-specific training. It is vital to get surgical teams working together seamlessly to deliver the optimal decision making, resuscitation, operative and post-operative care.
MOST uses military equipment and treatment protocols to ensure complete familiarisation before deploying. I have no doubt that this method of training is saving lives.
John Black, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said:
Surgeons currently deployed in Afghanistan face the daily task of treating military personnel suffering severe, complex injuries from bomb blasts or gunshot wounds - injuries they are likely to have limited experience of dealing with in NHS hospitals.
MOST plays a very necessary part in ensuring that surgical teams about to deploy to Afghanistan are as prepared as possible for the work they are likely to be exposed to on a tour of duty.
There are nine categories in the awards covering the wide range of skills that health and social care personnel exhibit.
Other military winners were: Out of Hours Treatment in British Forces Germany, which won the Innovation and Service Development Award; RAF Lincolnshire and Phoenix Stop Smoking Network, which won the Health Improvement and Promotion Award; Lieutenant Colonel Alisdair MacMillan, who won the Healthcare Reservist of the Year Award; Major Russ Parkes, who won the Healthcare Regular of the Year Award; State-of-the-Art Prosthetics, which won the Care of Veterans Award; and Trauma Inoculation Programmes, which won the Deployed Healthcare Award.
The Surgeon General, Surgeon Vice Admiral Philip Raffaelli, said:
The medical personnel who serve our Armed Forces share the same dangers as those they support on the front line. I am proud that these awards give them, together with the military medical personnel working in hospitals and elsewhere in the healthcare system, the recognition that they rightly deserve.
I work with a dedicated team who are constantly pioneering life-saving medical advances, which mean that those injured in service to their country receive the very best care available.
Working closely with our partners in the NHS we are constantly improving the care that we provide and the awards are a reflection of the highest levels of clinical excellence that support our Armed Forces. They deserve nothing less.