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Leading British military trauma surgeons from Defence Medical Services and the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine have shared their skills with Ukrainian medical personnel, UK Strategic Command announced on 29 August 2023.

Lieutenant Colonel James Baden, a specialist in reconstructive surgery following combat injury, led the UK team delivering training to six Ukrainian medical professionals. The Ukrainian cohort, a mix of military and civilian personnel, underwent training in reconstructive surgery techniques.

The training was held in the Freeman Hospital and Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, where surgical operations could be observed in a National Health Service theatre.

A simulated casualty being treated by Ukrainian medics during a combat medical training course delivered by the British Army and its international partners that began on 29 May 2023. UK medical training for Ukrainian personnel has also been extended to military trauma surgery. (Photo: Crown Copyright)

Further training will be taking place at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (RCDM), based at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, where injured military personnel evacuated from overseas are treated.

Major General Tim Hodgetts, UK Surgeon General and Chair of the Committee of Surgeon Generals in NATO, was quoted by Strategic Command as saying: “Sharing medical skills and expertise amongst allies is the right thing to do. Both military and civilians injured in Ukraine have similar injury patterns, so sharing the expertise to enhance all patient outcomes equally is also right in this circumstance. Military and civil collaboration is at the very heart of NATO’s new Medical Support Capstone Concept.

“I am hugely impressed by the actions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Medical Services, their valour, and their dedication to saving lives in the most challenging of circumstances,” he added. “In an increasingly abstract world dominated by digital and technology innovation, we still need surgeons with exquisite practical skills to treat the complex and disfiguring wounds of physical combat.”

Peter Felstead