Dragon Boat Event Medical Cover
Severn Hospice is an independent charity caring for people who are living with complex and progressive illness. Established in 1989 and caring for approximately 2500 patients each year, they have used big people-centred events to both raise awareness and much needed funds for the hospice. One such is event is the annual Dragon Boat Race.
Since 2005, NSL Care Services has provided emergency first aid cover for this major fund raising event and in 2010 nearly 600 people across 39 teams took part over six hours, encouraged from the banks by over 2,000 spectators.
The number of people requiring medical treatment at any event will vary considerably as will the type of ailment.
The main challenge for the Severn Hospice event organisers was the provision of medical, ambulance and first aid services to meet the statutory services required under the HSE Event Safety Guide generally knows as the “Purple Guide”. This guide for event organisers ensures all legal requirements are met before any event can go ahead.
The guide indicates that only competent organisations can provide medical management. To meet these requirements a supplier must be able to demonstrate that they are experienced in the medical management of similar events, and must accept responsibility for providing an appropriate operational control infrastructure to co-ordinate the activity of other medical providers who also might be covering the event.
Liaison with other statutory services is a big part of ensuring everything runs smoothly for an event organiser and respective roles and responsibilities should be set out in a medical, ambulance and first aid plan.
NSL Care Services took a systematic and meticulous approach to the medical treatment at the Severn Hospice event, gaining a deep understanding of the number of attendees and potential risks involved.
Our first meetings sought to understand the event safety management plan so that we were confident that, if challenged, the Severn Hospice event team could demonstrate that they had planned a safe and successful event.
Working with the event co-ordinator, we submitted a plan that contributed to their legal duty under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, EC directives, and compliance with licensing requirements.
First aid cover for events within NSL Care Services is co-ordinated by our training team. The Head of Training for Patient First has masses of event experience, and has managed First Aid Cover at shows such as the V Festival and the RHS Flower show.
We worked in partnership with the Severn Hospice team to gain their event licence, ensuring they fully complied with all legal requirements including Insurance, as event organisers are required to hold a current insurance in respect of public liability with a minimum indemnity of £2 million.
NSL Care Services always seek to create a high visibility at any event and this was the case at the Dragon Boat festival.
We provided personnel trained to a very high level for emergency first aid. For high profile events such as this, event staff would hold a BTec level 2 in Emergency First Aid. This is a qualification that we teach in-house - Patient First Training is accredited by Edexcel as an IHCD training centre.
Suffice it to say for a water based event the NSL Care Services team always deal with a number of ‘man overboard’ incidents including crushing and exhaustion, as the 21 people in each boat compete during the event.
Nevertheless, our team has also been on hand to deal with sunstroke, barbeque burns and dehydration as the party atmosphere develops during the day, and the rarer issues such a baby with suspected meningitis.
And all have been dealt with in a professional and caring way.