UK Diploma of Mountain Medicine awards its 200th qualification

Posted by Dr David Hillebrandt on 16/02/2015
Medex research

Ten years after its inception, the 200th UK Diploma of Mountain Medicine has been awarded, meaning there are now fully qualified and experienced doctors in most areas of the UK in a position to give medical advice to patients and groups planning expeditions.

In February 2015, the 200th UK UIAA/ICAR/ISMM University of Leicester Diploma of Mountain Medicine was awarded to Dr Ian Evans.

This milestone represents an real achievement by the administration team of made up of a medical faculty, teaching and assessment team of British Mountain Guides (IFMGA) led by Graham McMahon, University of Leicester team led by Dr Peter Barry, course secretary Caroline Clay, with financial support from the educational and research charity Medical Expeditions and their supporting organisation Medex.

We can now say that most areas of the UK have a fully qualified and experienced doctor who is in a position to give medical advice to patients, to groups planning expeditions and to teach mountain medicine to interested groups.

The course is open to all health professionals but the vast majority of holders are doctors although paramedics and nurses with appropriate experience are welcomed on the four module course. The course covers all aspects of mountain medicine and is run in line with the international syllabus of the UIAA medical commission, ICAR medical commission and International Society of Mountain Medicine.

Fifty percent of the syllabus involves mountain skills including navigation, Scottish winter skills, Alpine skills, avalanche rescue and formal and improvised rescue techniques. The medical syllabus includes remote trauma management, high altitude physiology, travel medicine, public health, cold injury and hypothermia and pre-existing medical conditions.

There are now 202 holders of the diploma with another 100 in the pipeline so most areas of medicine are also covered by the holder’s day jobs. This means that even if you consult a local doctor with limited experience in one field he or she will have access through our email group to advice from other specialists. There is no doubt that the majority of holders are working in the fields of general practice, accident and emergency work or anaesthetics but the list, also includes paediatricians, oncologists, cardiologists, respiratory physicians, orthopaedic surgeons and many others.

The one thing uniting all diploma holders is a love of the mountains and the outdoors.

Although we never expect to see the diploma becoming a requirement for mountain medicine work, many medical members of UK mountain rescue teams are holders. Many also work with the BMC at different educational events and giving background advice and we provide a regular trickle of volunteers to work at the International Porter Protection Group and Himalayan rescue Association bases in Nepal. The UK frostbite advice service is one off-spring from the diploma offering 24 hour field advice anywhere in the world.  

To contact a holder of the UK UIAA/ICAR/ISMM Diploma of Mountain Medicine or get more information see www.medex.org.uk
 



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