UK: Maritime Medics Tested on Exercise Corsican Lion

Maritime Medics Tested on Exercise Corsican Lion

HMS Illustrious, the UK’s high readiness helicopter and commando carrier, has been joined by sixteen doctors and specialist nurses and a biomedical scientist to validate the UK’s ‘role two afloat’medical capability.

Participating in Exercise Corsican Lion, a UK-French maritime exercise taking place in the Mediterranean, the enhanced medical capability is a vital component of the maturing Combined Joint Expeditionary Force.

After an initial period of settling into the ship and tending some straightforward practice ‘patients’, the team’s training will conclude with a mass casualty exercise, testing the medics, ship’s company and their equipment to the limits.

The role two afloat capability is designed to be a bridging facility for seriously and very seriously injured patients between the frontline and a role three facility such as RFA Argus (a hospital ship) or a hospital ashore in friendly territory.

The team within Illustrious have the capability to handle two very seriously injured causalities who are assessed by the trauma team and can then undergo treatment in a fully equipped operating theatre before being cared for on the critical care unit.

The facility also has a transfusion service run by a biomedical scientist and has the capability to hold blood and blood products.

There is also the provision in an emergency to provide blood from some of the 685 permanent ship’s company who have already had their blood screened.

Surgeon Commander Simon Mercer, officer commanding the role two team, said, “the role two is about damage resuscitation.

“It is important we transfer the skills we have learnt recently in Afghanistan to the maritime environment so that we are ready for contingency operations”.

Two members of the team, Surgeon Commander Raj Shah and Petty Officer (Naval Nurse) Elizabeth Hunt were part of a role two team in RFA Fort Victoria during Operation Capri, the anti-piracy campaign off Somalia in 2010.

They have been able to share their experiences with more junior medics.

PO Hunt said, “it has been good to pass on the experience from my previous role two afloat operations to colleagues that have never done role two before and especially our tri-service colleagues who are also new to life onboard a warship“.

HMS Illustrious is in the Mediterranean as part of the Cougar 12 deployment of the UK’s Response Force Task Group.

This annual training mission is currently focussing on UK – French naval cooperation and combined amphibious operations as part of a future high readiness twonation force able to react to emerging crises in and around Europe.

Naval Today Staff, October 24, 2012; Image: UK