Responsibilities on Event Organisers
Insurance providers and Local Councils expect event organisers to adhere to the minimum levels of medical cover specified in the local NHS Ambulance Event Safety Guide and the Purple Guide.
According to the South Western Ambulance Service (SWAST) Event Safety Guide, every marine based event should have at least one Paramedic and assistant in attendance. This is because events taking place on the water or near the shoreline carry a higher level of risk due to the increased time taken in conveying the a casualty ashore to reach NHS Paramedic care.
Don't the Lifeboat & NHS provide this service?
Surprisingly neither the Lifeboat Service or NHS routinely provide Registered Health Care Professionals afloat. These organisations do of course, deliver excellent service. However, in the case of the RNLI for example, it provides advanced first aid training for it’s crews (known as CasCare), enabling them to convey the casualty ashore to receive medical care on land. Generally, the NHS ambulance service does not have the resources or specialist marine background to deliver cover at sea.
Is medical cover really nessasary?
In the event of a medical emergency at sea, there is frequently delays in the casualty receiving fully qualified lifesaving treatment. Such a delay can result in a serious injury becoming life threatening. Each year fatalities occur at sea due to these delays. It is therefore important that in such cases, fully qualified medical care is received within the ‘golden hour’.
The golden hour refers to a time period lasting for up to an hour, following a serious injury or medical emergency. If qualified medical care is received during this critical time, the patients’ chances of survival or recovery are dramatically increased.
In the case of severe emergencies, such as Anaphylaxis, Asthma or Cardiac Arrest, the casualty has just minutes to receive lifesaving medications only available from registered health care professionals (Doctors/Paramedics).
Typically obtaining medical help for an emergency afloat will involve a lengthy process. This will often involve; Calling the Coastguard to arrange the launch of a lifeboat; Conveying the casualty ashore & Waiting for the arrival of a front-line emergency ambulance. By having medical care already afloat at your event, care can generally be provided within minutes.