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Medical services and first aid
Event medical cover:
a personal view from the recession
Event medical cover is an important issue to
be got right but is still seen by some as a
“nuisance” factor impacting on the bottom
line, says Dr Brian Robertson, Managing
Director, The Event Medicine Company Ltd
paramedics and qualified ambulance
espite the recession those
events that are taking place
staff supporting first aider personnel
still need their barriers,
with the numbers of each grade
of cover
trackway, toilets, stages and
scaled to the medical risks of the
for the type of event being planned was
temporary buildings. They also still
put in place.
need medical cover, so one would
■ Whatever the size of the event
We have seen events that because
like to hope that all is well in the
appropriate staff should be provided
of their medical risk should have had a
world of event medical provision.
who can “make a decision” and not
doctor, along with other professionals in
However, sitting at the word
simply just send someone to
place, being run at first aid level cover
processor to pen this piece,
only simply because this fitted the
notification came through the post
■ When considering the costs of
budget. Such an event organiser could
of our fifth client this year to go into
medical provision the cheapest
do well to consider the Watson
available may not be the most
Judgement of 1999 which highlighted
The other very common thing we
appropriate for either the venue or
that failure to provide appropriate
‘Sitting at the
are hearing from potential clients is
the event.
medical assistance broke the duty of
that “there is a recession, can’t you
Another fact that we are seeing
word processor
do it cheaper?”. Unfortunately, any
more commonly is that event organisers
Despite the budgetary pressures
to pen this
business that is staff driven, such as
are leaving requesting their medical
event organisers are urged to consider a
ours, cannot simply do things
cover until very late in the day and
number of things when thinking about
cheaper, because if we cut the
sometimes only days before their event.
their medical cover:
came through
invoice just to secure the business we
This we can understand when they
■ Talk to your medical provider early in
the post of our
will not be here in a year or two’s
have been let down by another
your planning cycle;
time for those clients who know and
provider, but it should not become the
fifth client this
■ Take advice to define the medical
understand what things really cost.
risks of build and break and the
year to go into
We all want to get through this
With regular major events we
event itself; liquidation’
recession but professional standards
already have bookings into 2011 and
■ Check your chosen medical
must not be compromised and
2012 and such events have long
provider’s track record;
organisers do have to pay
planning cycles to go with them. This
■ Ensure the spectrum of care is
appropriately for trusted brands.
way the right level of cover with the
delivered by staff who can “make
The fact that there is a recession
right staffing and resources are properly
does not alter the fundamental pillars
planned and integrated with all the
■ Check that the staff offered are
that underpin event medical provision:
other agencies involved in the event.
what they say they are. Doctors,
This cannot be achieved in days or even
nurses and paramedics all have■ There is a duty of care to those who
are working at or attending any
weeks - it can take months.
registrations that can be verified;
With an ongoing recesssion it is all
■ Check your medical provider carries
the more important to talk to your
professional indemnity■ Good event medical provision should
ensure that any event, irrespective of
medical provider early. Whilst there is
commensurate with the grades of
its type and size makes no impact on
the desire for “cheapness” we are
staff and an adequate level of public
the local NHS;
seeing totally unrealistic budgets being
liability cover;
set for event medical provision.
■ Discuss early with your medical■ Medical provision is as important in
the build and break periods as
Who sets these budgets? It is almost
provider their requirements in terms
during the event itself;
invariably the case that the person
of structure, access and egress,
trying to book the cover has been told
power, water and furniture;■ Approximately 30% of all cases
presenting to a medical provider are
what, or rather how little to spend. It
■ Consider the hours you require your
outside the scope of first aid.
may be heretical but if we were
medical provider to work. Event days
Therefore a spectrum of care needs
consulted before the budgets were set
can be very long and may require
to be provided from doctors, nurses,
then we could ensure that the right
shift working.
26 Event Organiser Autumn 2009
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