The UK Royal Navy’s (RN) medics have tested the concept of military air ambulance aboard the lead Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth.

This marks the first time RN personnel have exercised this concept at sea.

The test was carried out during the aircraft carrier’s deployment to the North Sea and Scandinavia, under the RN’s northern ‘arm’ of Operation Achillean.

The concept is the at-sea replication of emergency services that are provided by the National Health Service (NHS).

The military air ambulance concept involves Maritime Medical Emergency Response Team (MMERT) to fly a casualty experts’ team directly to the patient for providing on-the-spot life-saving care.

The patient is then transferred to a hospital by a helicopter for further treatment.

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The medics team comprised of reservists and full-time RN personnel, who work under NHS hospitals when in the UK to maintain/practice the medical skills.

RN paramedic warrant officer 1 Phil Towers said: “The exercise provided an excellent opportunity to test the developing MMERT capability.

“MMERT provides advanced trauma care far forward, equivalent to care provided by UK air ambulances, including senior clinical decision making, anaesthesia and blood products.”

The Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier’s entire medical team was activated for the first time to support the vessel’s hospital facilities, such as operating theatre, two emergency medicine and two intensive care beds.

The ship’s hospital staff includes 22 personnel, including doctors, nurses, anaesthetists and surgeons.

RN clinical director surgeon commander Rex Kinnear-Mellor said: “Given the nature of maritime operations and to fully appreciate environmental/geographical constraints associated with operating in a ship as part of a wider task group, it is important to undertake this validation process at sea.”