On your marks, get set, Go! With just over two months until the 2012 Olympics in London, 5,000 medical volunteers are getting ready to provide care at the world’s most prestigious sporting event, and MPS is reminding doctors of how to safeguard against medicolegal risks.
Dr Iain Barclay, Head of Medical Risk and Underwriting at MPS says: “At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, there were more than 22,000 medical encounters with staff, journalists, visitors and athletes. Volunteering at the Games is a unique experience – but with it comes new challenges.
"This Summer brings the Games to London and with over 5,000 medical volunteers on board the well-being of spectators is set to be well looked after. However, MPS is reminding doctors providing this service that they must be prepared when stepping out of their usual professional working environment.
“MPS advises that doctors should only volunteer if they are able to do what will be expected of them and work within the limits of their competence. They are also expected to abide by the protocols laid down by the London Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) in respect of the provision of such services.”
“Being a medical volunteer for London 2012 is a once in a lifetime experience, but the medicolegal risks remain the same as any other clinical encounter. Be sure to work within the limits of your competence, ensure good communication with overseas patients and arrange appropriate indemnity to protect yourself.”
Helping volunteers get ready for the Games is a key focus for MPS’s May issue of its flagship publication Casebook, released today. Dr Barclay advises Olympic medical volunteers to:
- Ensure that skills are up to date and qualifications are appropriate to those required.
- Be clear about what is expected of them and that they are not being asked to work beyond their limits.
- Make sure there is access to appropriate medical resources and be confident that the level of support is sufficient.
- Be aware of the myriad nationalities that may be at the Games and the potential for language and cultural differences.
- Arrange appropriate professional indemnity. MPS provides indemnity for existing members working as Olympic volunteers free of charge, so if there is an adverse incident, we can provide advice and assistance.
- Look after themselves – remember to take regular breaks, keep well hydrated and be prepared for all weathers.
- In the unlikely event a doctor is asked to treat an athlete, only do it if there is detailed knowledge of the rules and regulations surrounding the sport.
If doctors are volunteering for the Olympics and have any concerns about their duties or indemnity, they should contact their Medical Defence Organisation.
For further information please contact Kim Watson, Press Officer at MPS on +44 207 399 1409 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to editors
The article on Olympic Dilemmas, including advice for GP practices and emergency departments, can be found in the May edition of MPS publication Casebook.