To support leaders and those involved in providing medical care on expeditions in
wilderness environments, the Faculty of Pre-Hospital Care (FPHC) of The Royal College
of Surgeons of Edinburgh convened an expert panel of leading healthcare professionals
and expedition providers. The aims of this panel were to: (1) provide guidance to
ensure the best possible medical care for patients within the geographical, logistical
and human factor constraints of an expedition environment. (2) Give aspiring and established
expedition medics a ‘benchmark’ of skills they should meet. (3) Facilitate expedition
organisers in selecting the most appropriate medical cover and provider for their
planned activity. A system of medical planning is suggested to enable expedition leaders
to identify the potential medical risks and their mitigation. It was recognised that
the scope of
practice for wilderness medicine covers elements of primary healthcare, pre-hospital
emergency medicine and preventative medicine. Some unique competencies were also identified.
Further to this, the panel recommends the use of a matrix and advisory expedition
medic competencies relating to the remoteness and medical threat of the expedition.
This advice is aimed at all levels of expedition medic, leader and organiser who may
be responsible for delivering or managing the delivery of remote medical care for
participants. The expedition medic should be someone equipped with the appropriate
medical competencies, scope of practice and capabilities in the expedition environment
and need not necessarily be a qualified doctor. In addition to providing guidance regarding the clinical competencies required of
the expedition medic, the document provides generic guidance and signposting to the more pertinent aspects
of the role of expedition medic.Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13728-015-0041-x) contains supplementary
material, which is available to authorized users.