Tuesday 6 January 2015

Forces March 2015

Its January 2015 and already we are starting to get involved in this years event, through Facebook we are starting to get questions sent to us by new and returning competitors.

Uptake of the event has far exceeded previous years, even before the military teams begin to sign up.

New Year - New Direction

So 2015 has come around rather rapidly, and New Years Eve brought the first patients.

Working within a nightclub environment brings a significant number of challenges to patient care.

Night Clubs

The majority of patrons enter licensed premises for the aim of consuming alcohol, whilst accompanied by friends and enjoying any entertainment that is being provided whilst socialising and potentially meeting new people. Obviously there are exceptions to this, as some people do not in fact drink alcohol, and others do attend these venues on their own.

"Every year alcohol causes around 4% of cancer cases in the UK, about 12,500 cases"  (Drinkaware, 2015)

Drinkaware (2015) Check the Facts. Available at: http://www.drinkaware.co.uk/check-the-facts?gclid=CMCtm82t_8ICFQPHtAod9W0AIQ 
(Accessed: 6 January 2015).

Charity Work

We have already taken several bookings to provide medical support for charities, all of which so far are returning customers who used our services in 2014.

Our Managing Director retains his title of Medical Advisor to The Veterans Charity for another consecutive year.

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Vehicle Progression

So its been a while since I last updated my blog.

Things have certainly come on leaps and bounds! The new vehicle (Land rover Discovery) turned up in late April, and after a few teething problems is now becoming a familiar site at events. We choose the Land Rover and the model particularly for the clients and the locations which we are deploying too.

I have been asked several times,
"Why did you choose that particular model as opposed to a Defender?"  

Firstly was the financial factor to consider, the vehicle isn't brand new, admittedly it has had several owners - yet due to us having excellent mechanical support from a local garage it is checked and serviced regularly and faults rectified often within a week of being reported.

Secondly there seems to be a better comfort factor within the discovery range, the seats (heated) offer support especially when parked stationary for long periods of time covering events.

The aim of the vehicle and will be the same as any subsequent vehicle purchased is to deliver an appropriately trained and experienced member of the team to an incident location, both safely and whilst carrying all the necessary equipment.

Pictures will follow soon, as it begins the facelift process of turning from a standard family off-roader into an incident support unit.

Monday 14 April 2014

What makes a great Control Room?

Control rooms evolve for the purpose of processing a variety of information, often resulting in service delivery - whether it be the deployment of resources or the application of procedures.

The most commonly represented control rooms in the media are the emergency services, which feature heavily on the television, in programmes like '999 Whats your Emergency' and Police Interceptors.

These forms of control room are the pinnacle of information processing, allowing calls, radio communications and data to be categorised into priorities, then acted upon.

So what makes a superior control room?

  • Excellent Layout
Each control room 'operator' has adequate room to carry out their task, this allows them to move unhindered in the course of their duty, with ready access to all paperwork and information technology systems.

  • Management Presence
Whether it be a police control room, or an insurance broker call centre, their are tiers to the management structure, allowing staff the constant ability to refer decisions to senior personnel or consult on instances for advice which may be considered out of the norm.

  • Fallback Mechanisms
Business continuity is critical in the modern era of reliance on computerised systems. Often when these systems fail to operate - usually during a critical period this will place an enormous amount of stress upon the operators. IT support needs to be readily available, both during hours of operation and during the quiet or downtime sessions.

  • Employee Engagement
Allowing staff at all levels to be able to provide an input into the service delivery allows a more conjoined approach, allowing ideas to be shared along with room for improvement.

Instead of asking a consult company to look at improvements, 
why not ask the people who do the job?

  • Secure Environment
To allow the sharing of sensitive information, the control room needs to be secured, both to the risk of crime and also commercial espionage. Achieving this can be simple from providing a simple combination lock on a door or digital swipe card system, up to and including manned guarding dependent on the risk level.

  • Highly Trained Staff
Call & Control centres are often an under-looked training opportunity due to the complexity of being able to deliver realistic based scenarios. Various companies offer scenario based training for certain incidents (fire / terrorist attack / technology failures), but there is a limit to external training based on the pure basis of the functioning in the control environment. NVQ's are available in Call Centre Management, Customer Service and Team Leadership - all of which will need to be readily adapted to fit the assessment criteria.

Emergency services use core training, based on thorough theoretical based study, followed by scenario and procedural coaching. Once the mentors are happy with their trainees progress (often 1:1 ratio) they are then allowed to take public calls, working from the least priority workload, up to emergency classification.

At each stage of this process, they are constantly reviewed and assessed, allowing opportunities for revision or increased training to take place before the next advancement can be undertaken.


So when you next see a control room on the television or call through to a call centre, you may now be able to understand the process involved in the development of the services, or likewise you may be able to identify where improvements could take place.

Saturday 12 April 2014

Importance of a Professional Modern Medic


I am asked why do people chose Face 2 Face Medical Ltd to 

provide their first-aid services?


100% ON TIME 

If we don't turn up on time, we don't expect you to pay for our services.

Firstly we provide a rapid quotation system, both email and feedback forms are linked direct straight through to the management team, so responses can be provided wherever they maybe operating - whether it be in the office or out in the field. 
From the moment you request your quote, to the completion of your event, you will have 1 point of contact



Our image is corporate, practical and respected. We dress to impress. 

Many private ambulance services use green clothing, often trying to impersonate the 999 ambulance service, we don't attempt this. Our clothing is full black, embroidered polo shirts, smart black trousers, and safety footwear, along with quality regatta waterproof clothing to allow team members to work in the most harsh of the British weather.

This option allows team members to remain very discrete if required, but with the added option of providing high visibility clothing. 
Corporate clients often request a low key presence, all of our staff members are available to be deployed in 2 or 3 piece suits to blend in with your crowd dynamics.


We aren't amateurs playing at a professionals game
The chain of survival is a representation of the sequence of events which must take place in any serious medical emergency to ensure the best possible outcome for the patient.

It includes the following
  • Early Access - making a call for help, whether it be on-site first-aid services or 999
  • Early CPR - providing a rapid, safe proportionate response, and delivering cardio-pulmonary rescucitation to high standards
  • Early Defibrillation - using either automatic or semi-automatic defibrillators to restart the patients heart to a normal beating rhythm
  • Early Advanced Life Support - providing paramedic and doctor assistance with drug therapy and continued hospital support.

In June 2002 our Managing Director Andy Cottrell joined Royal Berkshire Ambulance Trust (RBAT) as a 999 emergency call-taker (successfully taking in the region of 25,000 life threatening 999 calls), he continued his training and in 2006 was promoted to Senior Control Room Assistant, being responsible for the deployment of 999 paramedic ambulance resources across the region. The London Olympics, Eton Dorney Lake rowing site and Olympic Torch escort team, was the ultimate accalade to his career when he developed the standby and deployment plan.

So as you can see, the company is managed by a person who has an intricate first-hand knowledge of Early Access, can deliver Early CPR and effective Defibrillation and knows the fundamental principles in co-ordinating Early Advanced Support.

Contact us today to see how we will help your event be successful. 

www.face2facemedical.net or email andrew@face2facemedical.net

Sunday 8 December 2013

Forces March 2013

So I've decided to write a day in the life of chapter....

The event I've chosen to speak about is the Forces March, which will appear frequently throughout my blogs.

So.... I'm going to set the scene, after a few emails sent between me and Danny from the Veterans Charity I had asked Kev to be the second Medic for the challenge. We both new each others specialities along with our own limitations. We arranged 4 practice sessions using our medical equipment, checking, re-checking and packing our bags so we knew the layouts blindfolded which in a hurry could mean the saving of seconds, and potentially lives.

I'd ordered more wound equipment as we told that we would only really be dealing with foot care.... how wrong this statement was to be!.....

So what was packed in each of our cars?
Each car carried - defibrillator, airway management, patient monitoring, 3 bottles of oxygen, pain relief, trauma equipment, wound care, burns equipment, over the counter medication, fracture equipment, spinal collars, blankets, hi-visibility waistcoats, safety clothing, personal kit, sleeping bags (carried a spare for a hypothermia patient), tent .... and 36 bottles of drinking water! In my car, I carried spare fluids, and extra wound care equipment.

0600hrs each morning, sorting out our routine, quick shower (wet water guaranteed - temperature was always a guessing game!). We'd then usually start packing up our own personal kit, and start checking the vehicle medical kits for the march.

Overnight we always kept a medical bag inside our tents, in case we were called out to attend to a patient. Breakfast usually started with a hot cup from the ever trusty event management team. A quick walk around the site to wake up a bit more and we were good to go....

0700hrs several patients were usually already lined up waiting - all quietly supping cups of tea or munching on the cereal of the day, we always asked people to come back to the same person that had treated them previously, this allows us to monitor the wounds / conditions and then adapt the treatment plans from there.
Treatment locations varied throughout the event, sometimes we treated patients within their tent (the sports field site was so windy we couldn't put up our gazebo), inside support vehicles - had a very memorable experience one day with RAF Northolt in the back of their Transit Minibus with a bottle of whiskey for an anaesthetic and the Group captain! the same evening 2 Battalion Royal Tank Regiment choose to go alfresco - as the sun was coming down, chilled out on the grass lancing blisters whilst they all joked and shared stories.
So once morning 'clinic' had been done all competitors had to be ready to go for the 10am start, along with this we needed to be packed up quite quickly ready to provide the medical cover for the route.

Most days we managed to achieve this by a technique I now term as 'dynamic camping' which quite simply put means all I need to camp is a sleeping bag and tent.... blankets and sleeping mats aren't required for comfort - as when tiredness kicks in you can sleep anywhere!

So with kit re-packed, car layouts checked we then make our way out of the campsites. We know where the destination for the day will be, its just the route that now bears the challenge for us.

Both being Berkshire boys and no personal knowledge of the road layouts we choose to calculate the route into two sectors. Each day a car would be sat at 8 miles and the second at 16.... so the longest run to an incident would be 8 miles. We followed the competitors signs, and positioned ourselves in locations which we thought we may be needed, either due to rural location, inclines, or public areas.

Mobile phone signal in certain areas was non-existent so we spent long periods of time sat in the cars on our own, with only the local radio stations for company. The support vehicles going past with the obligatory arm wave and horn hoot was passing the time of day. Once the first competitor had gone by we then began to estimate length of times to completion.
Another hour would go by then we would choose to double back and slowly drive the route in reverse.... this was the most entertaining part as all of the signs were behind us..... so memory was required and a good satnav with saved locations.... on a few occasions though I completely got lost doing this technique and ended up on a 60 mile detour via Exeter! Luckily I had already spoken Kev and he had repositioned himself in the middle of the competitors to provide cover until I rejoined the route.....

..... The famous site of Chaz Bowyer and Steve Fisher (who I called Chaz & Dave) in their ever trusty Freelander confirmed the back of the event convoy. We would regularly meet up and have a chat about what was going on, along with discussing the finer culinary delights of the local establishments! Chaz & Dave did a fantastic job of ensuring vehicles were aware of the competitors on the road, often not making it out of 2nd gear for the entire day, collecting all of the direction signs as they went along (which I still think was the reason why I ended up in Exeter!)

If we were required to stop for a competitor they just simply indicated by showing us the thumbs down sign, which we then parked up safely and investigated what the problem was..... often it was a blister that had filled up, or a show which was rubbing.... if the any muscles / ligaments were involved we would then call on our colleagues from Sports Injuries Clinic, who would send a pair of physios out from base camp to hopefully treat the patient in location. We would if suitable provide pain relief and basic sports injury care until the physio car arrived.

Our combined medical team ethos was that we would do as much as we could to ensure that all of the competitors and support team members got through the event without any risk of lasting injury to themselves.

My favourite place I remember treatment people was the front car park of a community centre.... I can't quite remember the village unfortunately.....

I had parked up in the car park and all of the local residents had come out to support - we were offered drinks and refreshments. I was asked by the local councillor how the event was going and my answer was fabulous!
Competitors started coming in, I was asked to look at several of the younger element.... I decided that due to the number of people in the area I didn't want to step out of the environment and go into the village hall - so I setup the clinic on a picnic bench.... patients laid on the bench, shoes were taken off and they were all ready to be treated! I still remember the councillor looking on in astonishment to what was taking place!
Once Chaz and Dave caught up, we had a quick drink of much needed Cold water! (usually got given enough chocolate to sink the Bismarck!) we packed up and were gone again.....

The Forces March is an interesting phenomenon, it is an endurance event recreating a formidable challenge which occurred nearly 60 years ago. Yet it works on the same basis then, as it does now. It is a fully functioning, but completely independent unit. It brings its own support team, it cooks, provides water, lighting, showers, provides medical and physio support. Then within a matter of hours all of this is packed up and moved to the next location. The only trace you will see of this event is the foot prints in the ground.

1400 - Lunch was taken on the hoof, we would pop into a local shop and grab a pasty or something equally as healthy! Day 2 we had Maisie & Kat out with us - one in each of the cars..... I think me and Kat managed to put the entire world to rights with the 8 hours we spent together, and Maisie brain washed Kev using some words he even had to look up on Urban Dictionary!

1700 - Once the competitors started to finish the route, one of us would go into base camp and setup ready for the evening 'clinic' sessions. The other medical car would then proactively drive the route, regularly checking on all of the competitors. If a competitor had to be uplifted from the route, they would be stabilised, placed into a support vehicle and then taken onto the next campsite to have their treatment continued. Luckily this only happened on a few occasions and I would like to thank those support crews that assisted with this process - by taking competitors from other teams or individuals back to base camp - a credit to the team work and comradeship of this event.

Danny the organiser would know the day was complete and all competitors were back when he would see the famous Freelander coming through the gates of whichever site would be home for the next 16 hours..... the physios would be in full swing.... Adam, Jody, Alice, Maisie and Kat doing all they could do to massage and help the muscles work to their full advantages.

Me and Kev would work around them patching up any footcare issues. When footcare became more prevalent than muscle work the physios would then switch roles and help us out, we would often have light hearted competitions comparing blisters between participants!

A word which was banned from day one, and puts fear into any Forces March Medic is "Compeed". This is regularly used within the military to prevent blisters, but is useless during extreme events, as it doesn't allow the skin to breathe and acts as another layer which causes immense friction and subsequent pain factor is immense. During the first few days we removed large amounts of compeed from participants feet and around their heels and Achilles tendon areas. After bathing these areas, the hot spot sites were covered with a special blister gel which acted as both a cooling and absorbent system to allow the skin to permeate correctly and repair much quicker.

2000 - the evening would end with a beer or two, chilling out and unwinding for the evening, often I would walk around the site which gave me chance to mentally focus on what the day had brought, to collect my thoughts together.

2300 - The sleeping bag would be a welcome reminder of a couple of hours of sleep, before starting the day bright and breezy for another day.... what challenges would it bring?

Sunday 24 November 2013

Updating my skills

Another weekend has gone by.... So what happened?

Well I decided to top up my patient contact hours by volunteering to provide medical cover at an event. Usually I'm based in a medical centre, but this time I worked on a mobile response team.... Friday went without much interest.... Only the 1 callout which didn't need our assistance.

Saturday - 3 callouts, 2 of which were categorised as majors.... I was glad of my experience on one of the callouts, which on face value seemed like a minor fainting episode..... But from looking at the patient I decided to transfer him back to the medical centre rapidly... I had already phoned ahead to ensure we had a paramedic and doctor team awaiting our arrival..... After being stabilised with drugs therapy, the patient was then taken by county NHS ambulance to a specialist hospital for further treatment and potential surgery.

Sunday was spent helping restore a 1967 fire engine, which a friend of mine has just purchased through eBay.... Lots of things to do on it.... But seems an interesting project!