From Ebola To Hurricanes: The Work Of The RAF's Tactical Medical Wing

Forces News has been given special access to the RAF's Tactical Medical Wing based at Brize Norton.

The Tactical Medical Wing undergoing training at RAF Brize Norton (Picture: RAF).

The RAF’s Tactical Medical Wing provide a medical air evacuation service.

They are always on high readiness to deploy and prepared for all types of emergency scenarios.

In 2017, they provided urgent medical care during the humanitarian disaster caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria and in 2014, they were involved with tackling the Ebola crisis in West Africa.

Tactical Medical Wing Training Decontamination
Demonstrating how to decontaminate personnel who have to treat patients with highly infectious diseases like Ebola.

Based at Brize Norton, the unit has been showcasing their vital training.

One scenario they have to prepare for is how to decontaminate personnel who have treated patients with highly infectious diseases. If they get this wrong, they risk becoming infected themselves.

Group Captain Michael Priestley said:

"What we don't want is for a carer to become a patient.

"The process, as painstaking as it is, is done thoroughly and properly to contain any potential contamination."

Tactical Medical Wing Training
The RAF’s Tactical Medical Wing are always on high readiness to deploy (Picture: RAF).

It is not clear what challenges the team will face in the future, whether natural disasters or infectious diseases, but the Tactical Medical Wing remain on standby to be sent anywhere in the world. 

Wing Commander Darren Ellison said: "We do operate in various environments around the world and that means we have to pick people up from really different locations - some places where the health care they're being subjected to isn't that great.

"That puts a real pressure on us to stratify that clinical risk as to whether a patient is fit to move and when they need to move."