nhsfestival2“Everything went smoothly for the NHS  staff who provide medical and other services at the 2013 Isle of Wight Festival, ” said the Trust’s Consultant in Emergency Medicine Robin Beal.   “It takes months of careful planning to provide the medical services on the site.”

The NHS has been involved in the Festival since its reintroduction to the Isle of Wight in 2002.  The services provided this year included:

  • A Medical Centre with six beds and ambulatory care areas, with adjacent x-ray facilities and dispensary on the edge of the main Arena  including  a full resuscitation area
  • Two bed emergency treatment centre next to the stage and a team located near the ‘Pit’ by the stage in the Arena
  • Pharmacy in Strawberry Fields
  • Roaming paramedic response teams
  • Patient Transport and Ambulance services
  • Ambulance control as part of the Event Liaison Team
  • Consultant clinics in the first aid centre on the campsite every morning

In addition the Public Health Team, part of Isle of Wight Council, supported the Welfare Tent by promoting healthy living and private sector provider Paramedico ran a first aid facility in Strawberry Fields and the first aid centre on the campsite.

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nhsfestival3 “Our aims for the festival are two-fold,” continued Robin.   “The Island’s population of 140,000 need access to their local hospital without it being overwhelmed by Festival goers.   We also want those attending the Festival to have a good time and be safe.  When things go wrong we want them to be able to access quick and effective treatment.  Where possible this allows them to stay on the Festival site and continue to enjoy themselves.   It also enables us to reduce any additional pressures on the Island’s health services and St. Mary’s Hospital.  However, if we do need to get someone to hospital we can do it quickly by having the ambulance service on site.”

The majority of Isle of Wight NHS Trust services are commissioned and funded by Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) but in the case of Isle of Wight Festival additional services put in place for the Festival are funded by Solo.

nhsfestivalPlanning for the event starts in January each year and is led by the Isle of Wight NHS Trust’s Emergency Planning Department.   The ambulance, pharmacy and medical presence on the site starts at 5.00p.m. on the Thursday and continues through until 2.00a.m. on the Monday morning.   Staff include a variety of experienced and skilled Nurses with Consultant and Specialty doctors with the medical services operating from 10:00a.m. and up to 1:00a.m. each day.

Ambulance personnel include emergency care practitioners, paramedics, ambulance technicians and care assistants, radiographers and registered pharmacists and technicians from St. Mary’s work with the team in the medical centre in the arena, using the live hospital JAC system to record every prescription processed immediately, and the same team run a registered pharmacy near the first aid post in Strawberry Fields. The voluntary rota means that both sites are covered throughout the festival to meet our legal and professional commitments.

nhsfestival4Additional staff are drafted in from the South Central Ambulance Service, including staff from the Ambulance Hazardous Area Response Team (HART). This enables the ambulance service on the island to maintain its cover across the rest of the island at normal levels.   The whole set up is supported by a range of Island NHS services including the IT team who enable the medical facilities to be plugged into the Isle of Wight NHS system, hospital catering who keep NHS staff refreshed and the transport and caretaking team who get the Trust’s equipment to the site and back.

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“The x-ray machine is located in a tent adjacent to the medical centre,” says Superintendent Radiographer Amanda Shaw.  “By having mobile digital imaging equipment located in a dedicated area near the Medical Centre we are able to provide medical and nursing staff with a wide range of x-ray’s without the need for patients to visit St. Mary’s Hospital, keeping resources there free for more urgent cases.   Being on site meant that we were able to save Festival goers a trip to St. Mary’s Emergency Department.”

Festival goers were treated for a variety of problems including minor injuries and ailments including sunstroke and sprains.   There were some Medical and Surgical conditions requiring admission to St. Marys and some individuals who had over indulged with Alcohol and Drugs required treatment and admission.   The number of patients seen by Ambulance response teams on site was 130.   The number of patients seen in the main medical facility on site was 219 including 11 transfers to St Mary’s Hospital including a serious burn.

Michaela Morris, Emergency Planning Manager said: “Although the numbers of patients seen were lower than previous years, the good working relationships that the NHS has developed with the event organisers, security companies, Paramedico, the hazardous area response team (HART), South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) and other agencies ensured that the festival was a success and good cross agency working was very evident.”

Communications between those on site is provided by the Isle of Wight Ambulance Service’s state of the art digital radios providing the Emergency Liaison Team with immediate contact with the medical centre, first aid centre, three transport ambulances and the three rapid response teams.    The Medical Centre and X-ray facility benefit from a dedicated electrical generator provided by the Festival organisers.  This has allowed us to do on site radiography in a well equipped medical facility. We also had a specialised 6 wheel drive transporter to assist with patient movement on site.

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Close to the First Aid Centre in Strawberry Fields the Isle of Wight NHS Trust Pharmacy team organise and run a GPhC registered pharmacy under the name ‘Wight Medicine’.   They were able to provide hundreds of Festival goers with over the counter remedies and emergency supplies for common problems such as hay fever, eye infections, headaches, sun protection, sunburn, blisters, indigestion, bites and stings.

Chief Pharmacist Gill Honeywell says: “In addition to providing over the counter remedies we provide an important advice service, emergency prescription medicines for those who lose or forget their own medicines  and are able to supply free condoms and hand gel.   We are a first point of contact for many people who may need referral on to the First Aid or Medical Centres, whilst supporting self care the Pharmacy allows the medical teams to concentrate on more serious problems.  During the course of the weekend we estimate we helped over 1,000 customers – that’s more than one every 3 minutes during our opening hours.   In addition to the registered pharmacy we provide a dispensing service within the medical team based at the Emergency Medicine tent to facilitate the one stop treatment for festival goers. The feedback from our customers and patients is really positive: they love having a pharmacy available on site.”

Emergency Medicine Consultant Robin Beal thanked John Giddings and Solo for their co-operation.  “Every year the medical facilities are improved and Solo are very responsive to any concerns we have during the event.   The safety of Festival goers depends on good working relationships and we have found the Production team excellent to work with,” said Robin.

Chief Executive at Isle of Wight NHS Trust Karen Baker said: “All our staff who work and volunteer at the Festival are a credit to the organisation.  They help ensure that the Festival is safe and fun for all present whilst at the same time ensuring that Island residents continue to receive a high quality responsive service.”

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