British medical personnel can volunteer to help with the UK government’s humanitarian emergency response to disasters overseas, under a new arrangement announced by International Development Secretary Justine Greening today.
Doctors, nurses, surgeons and other staff can now pre-register on the UK’s International Emergency Trauma Register (UKIETR) to indicate their availability to deploy rapidly to the scene of emergencies such as tsunamis, earthquakes and floods.
It is hoped that more than 400 medical staff will be registered and trained by 2014, said Ms Greening, speaking on the anniversary of the 2004 Indian Ocean Boxing Day tsunami which killed more than 230,000 people in 14 countries.
The UKIETR was established by medical charity UK Med in 2011 and has already deployed surgical team members in support of non-governmental assistance operations in Haiti, Libya and Tunisia. Ms Greening’s Department for International Development and the Department of Health have now incorporated the register into the UK’s official overseas disaster response.
The register ensures that volunteers have the correct skills, training and experience for the specific situation being faced.