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Attending the Olympic/Commonwealth Games

26 February 2018

The Olympic Games/Commonwealth Games are a major event in the world’s sporting and cultural calendar. Almost inevitably, a number of Medical Protection members may be attending the Games.

Attending in an official capacity

Some Medical Protection members may be attending these events in an official capacity – travelling with a team or squad as an official team doctor or affiliate.

If you are attending in this capacity, please make sure you inform our Member Services Team as soon as possible.

When carrying out your duties in this capacity you should:

  • Make sure you comply with any local regulatory or legal requirements
  • Work within the limits of your training, skill and expertise
  • Ensure the appropriate medical equipment and support is available
  • Confine your services to members of the group you are travelling with (except in the case of genuine Good Samaritan acts as described below)
  • Make sure that you do not enter into any written or oral contract with an employer or other third party to treat competitors or other members of the group for reward.
  •  Any relationship should be between doctor and patient.

Good Samaritan acts

Medical Protection defines a Good Samaritan act as one in which medical assistance is given, free of charge, in a bona fide medical emergency upon which you may chance, in a personal as opposed to a professional capacity, eg, assisting a fellow spectator at an event.

For doctors, ignoring such a predicament is never an option. When called into action while off duty, you must remember to make a full clinical record after treatment. There will be millions of people at the Games and, in this scenario, you must assess your own competence in handling the situation – eg, you may be under the influence of alcohol – and proceed accordingly.

Only intervene if the situation is an emergency. Any situation that is beyond your competence may still benefit from your input, to a degree. For example, you can use your clinical skills to take a history, make an examination to reach a preliminary assessment, and give an indication of the likely differential diagnosis. You can also suggest options for the management of the situation pending arrival of support.

In the unlikely event that legal proceedings follow, members would be entitled to apply for assistance, no matter which country the legal proceedings are commenced in, which is important as many spectators will be drawn from around the world. 


Providing you follow these guidelines, and (if attending in an official capacity) have informed our Member Services Team, then Medical Protection members can look to Medical Protection for advice and assistance in the unlikely event of an adverse incident in respect of the provision of medical care.

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