BCRC CRO Medical Conference

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23-25 June 2023

This cave rescue medical training conference was a well organised, enjoyable and informative weekend for all those who travelled to Clapham, North Yorkshire to participate. Ingleborough Hall and grounds made an excellent venue for accommodation and the classroom activities scheduled on Saturday. Interest was held by a wide variety of topics covering medical updates, approaches to training in casualty care, legal considerations around a fatality, presented by the Senior Coroner, Kevin McLoughlin, and demonstrations of casualty rescue kit.

Alistair Morris, Medical Director, MREW, joined Brendan Sloan, BCRC Medical Advisor to update team representatives on changes being made to the Advanced First Aid course and updates on medicines available to use in underground rescue. There was also discussion over disparities in that entitlement for teams across the constituent countries of the UK and in the Republic of Ireland.

Key to success of the meeting was ample time factored into the programme for informal discussion around refreshment breaks, the evening barbecue and bar to reflect upon the presentations, and share personal experiences and practices. Staff at Ingleborough Hall provided the breakfasts and we were all very grateful to Heather and the catering team from CRO who provided all other refreshments, including the barbecue on Saturday night.

BCRC Medical Weekend June 2023
Outdoor workshop on casualty bag heat packs and use with Slix stretchers, led by Ian Peachey, UWFRA. (Picture: Peter Dennis)

Travel was arranged over to Kingsdale on Sunday morning for a highly effective round of five practical training workshops within Yordas Cave, split by a pleasant hot lunch break featuring self-heating meals used on rescues.  Participants were split into groups to blend medical, paramedic and first aiders from a mix of rescue teams, then challenged with some truly testing medical emergency, trauma diagnostic or casualty evacuation scenarios. Groups were daunted by the uncertainty and responsibility to resolve each exercise effectively but this achieved a really effective training experience by being put on the spot and having to draw upon collective training and experience.

Many CRO personnel were involved in making this a successful conference and particular thanks is extended to Paul Lethebee, CRO Medical Officer, assisted by circa six of the CRO medical team in devising the programme. Steve Holcroft had a major role, assisted by further CRO colleagues in ferrying equipment and provisions to prepare the conference venue. The conference was supported by local businesses: Three Peaks Brewery, Bibby’s Coaches of Ingleton, and Seasons Bakery, the source of the excellent pies provided for those arriving on Friday evening, ahead of the tour of the CRO Depot. Thanks too to all the contributors of talks and training workshops and to BCRC colleagues, Jim Davis and Brendan Sloan for their part in the planning and organisation. I have received very positive comments from participants since the conference, so well done to everyone involved.

Peter Dennis, Chairman BCRC

4 July 2023