J R Army Med Corps. 2017 Apr;163(2):78-83. doi: 10.1136/jramc-2016-000658. Epub 2016 Jun 10.

Mercer SJ1, Khan MA2, Scott T3, Matthews JJ4, Henning D5,6, Stapley S7.

Author information:

1 Department of Anaesthesia, Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool, UK.

2 Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK.

3 University Hospitals North Staffordshire NHS Trust, Stoke-On-Trent, UK.

4 Department of Orthopaedics, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, Truro, UK.

5 Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Plymouth, UK.

6 Academic Department of Military Emergency Medicine, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (Research & Academia), Medical Directorate, Birmingham, UK.

7 Medical Directorate (Research and Academia) ICT Centre, Birmingham, UK.


The UK Defence Medical Services are currently supporting contingency operations following a period of intensive activity in relatively mature trauma systems in Iraq and Afghanistan. Among the key lessons identified, human factors or non-technical skills played an important role in the improvement of patient care. This article describes the importance of human factors on Role 2 Afloat, one of the Royal Navy’s maritime contingency capabilities, and illustrates how they are vital to ensuring that correct decisions are made for patient care in a timely manner. Teamwork and communication are particularly important to ensure that limited resources such as blood products and other consumables are best used and that patients are evacuated promptly, allowing the facility to accept further casualties and therefore maintain operational capability. These ideas may be transferred to any small specialist team given a particular role to perform.

Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://www.bmj.com/company/products-services/rights-and-licensing/.

PMID: 27286782

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