Find a Doctor
Larger events do not generally struggle to find doctors willing to volunteer their services as a Medical Officer (MO). At these events there is usually a team of doctors in which new MOs 'learn the ropes' from the experienced ones.
This guidance is aimed at smaller events which can sometimes find it difficult to find a doctor.
In these litigious times doctors can feel vulnerable taking on duties outside their normal sphere of work. Even when doctors are acting in a voluntary capacity, legally they are regarded as having a form of contract if they have agreed to provide their service. Therefore if a competitor were to complain about the treatment they received, a doctor acting as an MO would be judged by the normal standards that apply to negligence. A doctor should not be acting outside their competence as an MO.
There are recommendations from some sporting bodies and the British Medical Association about appropriate levels of training and education for MO work at events. This includes treatment of trauma and life support. MOs also need knowledge of immobilisation and extrication of casualties from difficult locations. All this involves close work with paramedic and ambulance personnel as well as the core team at an event such as stewards, control and fence judges.
In deciding whether they are competent and willing to provide their services, a potential MO needs to know what is being requested of them in some detail. We recommend a briefing sheet based on the example below. The MEA has also produced short guidance for doctors who are new to equestrian sport. (see links below)
The expectation at smaller events is that MOs are providing a service to the competitors and others who might be injured as part of the competition. It is in the interests of small events to make this clear since there are probably fewer doctors who feel competent and who carry suitable equipment to provide crowd cover. Medical cover for crowds is not required by law for numbers under 2,000.
Find a Doctor
You will need to make it clear what the duties of an MO at your event will be and what support they will have including details of the ambulance and paramedic personnel they will be working with.
- The form below will generate an email that will be forwarded to our members
- Use medical contacts - ask if they will forward an e-mail to their colleagues
- Contact your local hospital– ask for the Press Officer or Communications. They may agree to circulate a short e-mail to medical staff or place notices in certain departments. The Emergency, Anaesthetic, Orthopaedic and Surgical Departments are probably the best specialities to be targeted
Keeping a Doctor – some things that will help
- Please make clear their role and responsibility
- Provide adequate support – paramedic or EMT and properly equipped ambulance
- Good liaison – introductions to team, briefing and radio communications procedure
- An appropriate vehicle – 4WD if doctor has to move about course