Team members Mark Scott and Naomi Horan attend MREW Mountain and Cave Rescue Medical Seminar in Ambleside, Cumbria

Each year Mountain Rescue England and Wales (MREW) holds a Medical Seminar aimed at team members who are doctors, nurses or are very experienced mountain rescue casualty carers. So it was that Bolton team members Naomi Horan and Mark Scott headed for Charlotte Mason College in Ambleside today. Naomi has recently successfully completed her traineeship to become a full team member. In her full time profession she is an intensive care nurse! Mark Scott has been in the team for nearly ten years and undertakes basic life support and AED (cardiac defibrillator) training for Bolton MRT and the University of Bolton (where he works) under license from the North West Ambulance Service.

The seminar featured extremely highly qualified and experienced presenters who gave a series of presentations on topics such as:

Pre-hospital and in-hospital care of severe hypothermia; avalanche trauma; the physiological demands of mountain rescue; physical fitness standards for rescuers; pain relief in mountain rescue.

The presenters included Dr Peter Paal, Associate Professor of Mountain Medicine from Innsbruck, Austria; Dr John Ellerton, MREW medical officer and team doctor Patterdale MRT; Mr Giles Peek, Consultant Cardiac Surgeon, Leicester; Professor Mike Tipton, Portsmouth University and world authority on immersion hypothermia; Dr Jamie McDonald, Lecturer in Clinical Exercise Physiology, Bangor University; Dr Linda Dykes, Director of the Mountain Medicine Project and Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Gwynedd hospital, Bangor. Mr Mike Greene, A&E Consultant, Les Gordon, Team Doctor Langdale Ambleside MRT.

This astonishing line up was supplemented by an audience that included numerous team doctors, nurses, air ambulance paramedics and consultants.

Each and every presentation was excellent, highly informative, and cutting-edge, as you would expect from such a gathering. The most eagerly-awaited presentation was the that by Mike Greene in which he gave the findings of a two-year research into the effectiveness of different approaches to pain relief in mountain rescue. Of the many teams that submitted data to the research project (in the form of special incident reports on real cases where analgesia was administered to casualties in pain) Bolton MRT made a significant and impressive contribution, coming third and beaten only by Patterdale MRT and Keswick MRT for the number of such incidents submitted to the research. (Mark commented it was interesting to note that some well-known teams with a very high intensity of incidents submitted fewer incidents to the research than did Bolton MRT)

The findings of the analgesia study were fascinating, vindicating (for example) Bolton MRTs decision to introduce new types of opiate painkillers into the team’s medical armoury, and re-affirming the supremacy of Intravenously delivered morphine as without question the most effective way of relieving severe pain in mountain rescue incidents. There were numerous other important findings that will be reported back to the Bolton MRT membership and will impact on the way the team works to relieve pain.

Mark and Naomi would like to extend their huge thanks to the organisers and presenters for an excellent and authoritative seminar.