Impact of military medicine on civilian medical practice in the UK from 2009 to 2020

Katherine France, C Handford
BMJ military health 2021 January 20

INTRODUCTION: The positive impact of advances in military medicine and the influence these have had on civilian medical practice have been well documented throughout history: this review will be looking specifically between 2009 and 2020.

AIMS: Review of innovations that have been implemented or have influenced civilian practice within the areas of trauma, disease outbreak management and civilian systems between 2009 and 2020. This review will also aim to explore the impact that working with or within the military can have on individuals within civilian healthcare systems and the future challenges we face to maintain skills.

RESULTS: Using a narrative approach to this review, we found that there have been numerous changes to trauma management within the UK, based on military practice and research during conflict, which have improved survival outcomes. In addition, the use of niche military skills as part of a coordinated response, during both internal and international disease outbreaks, are thought to have supported civilian systems enabling an efficient and prolonged response. Furthermore, adaptation of military concepts and their application to the NHS through consultant-led prehospital teams, centralisation of specialties in the form of major trauma centres and the introduction of guidelines to manage 'major incidents and mass casualty events' in 2018 have improved patient outcomes.

CONCLUSION: From 2009 to 2020, lessons learnt from the British and other nations' militaries have been integrated into UK practice and have likely contributed to improved outcomes in the management of major incidents both nationally and internationally.

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