Alookinto the Patient Co-ordination Cell ….at The RoyalCentre for DefenceMedicine By Cpl Jude Fellows, RAF Medic –Aeromedical Evacuation Controller

The Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (RCDM) Patient Co-ordination Cell (PCC) is located within Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB). It is a tri-service, multidisciplinary team who work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to provide care to military patients and support welfare services to their families.

The PCC mission statement is to deliver specialist hospital capability to the highest standard including the safe arrival of military patients and their families at QEHB, their on-going reception, administration, tracking and management.

This is exactly what the team at PCC do, alongside dedicated medical personnel from the NHS and military staff at QEHB and surrounding Hospital Trusts who are providing the medical treatment. PCC encompasses personnel from all 3 services. RAF personnel primarily deal with all Aeromedical Evacuation (AE) aspects, and a mixture of Army and Navy personnel are responsible for the management of patients whilst being admitted to QEHB and surrounding hospitals. A Patient Support Offi cer (PSO), an Army Major with a non- medical background, organises and co-ordinates welfare aspects for patients and their families. Also working alongside the PSO to support the welfare of the patient and their family is a team from the Defence Medical Welfare Services.

The Aeromedical Evacuation (AE) team are responsible for the return of sick or injured service personnel, mobilised reservists and entitled civilians from worldwide locations to the UK who are deployed on Operations, Exercise or away on Adventurous Training. The RCDM Aeromedical Evacuation team will arrange the correct care pathway from initial notifi cation of sickness or injury to the appropriate hospital, consultant, admission and/or outpatient appointment.

The PCC AE team do not undertake this mammoth tasking alone, they work in partnership with in Theatre and UK

34 Envoy Summer 2017

based and Aeromedical Evacuation Liaison Offi cers (AELO) and the Aeromedical Evacuation Control Centre (AECC) based at Tactical Medical Wing (TMW). This wide ranging team ensure that from the point of sickness or injury, worldwide serving personnel are transported back to the UK in the quickest and most appropriate way, to a level of care at the highest quality appropriate for their condition.

Probably the most publicised work that they do is with the Critical Care Air Support Team (CCAST) who will transit a critically sick or injured service person from the point of injury or country of origin within a suitable timeframe. The highly skilled members of the CCAST, made up of personnel from the AE Squadron at TMW with support from on-call personnel based across the UK, will deploy an Intensive Care Unit on a C17 aircraft. They will use their specialist skills to transport the patient back to the UK whilst providing critical in- fl ight medical care. Landing at Birmingham International Airport, the aircraft is met by the PCC AE team and the West Midlands Ambulance Service, who will transfer the patient to QEHB.

On arrival at QEHB, the PCC AE team will escort the patient

to the appropriate ward and ensure that a detailed handover is given. All patients receive the highest standard of care from the combined NHS and military staff working at QEHB and surrounding hospitals, supporting their recovery so that they can return to duty and home life as swiftly as possible.

The Aeromedical Evacuation process works effectively due to training, communication and close collaboration between RCDM AE, deployed AELOs, the AECC and the AE Squadron at TMW. This is enhanced by the drive and enthusiasm of the teams who provide exemplary care and selfl ess service to personnel worldwide. The RCDM PCC AE team would not be able to provide such high quality care without the valued experience and dedication from the military and NHS staff at QEHB, the West Midlands Ambulance Service, the West Midlands Police and Outriders, and Birmingham International Airport. 

©MOD Crown Copyright 2017.

©MOD Crown Copyright 2017.

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