Supporting the use of hyperbaric medicine in the British Isles
Junior Doctor Opportunities
By Dr Ellie Dickson, DDRC Fellow and GPST3 (on OOPE)
Expedition Dive Medicine Course
Attend a course in expedition dive medicine to prepare for marine expeditions and increase your confidence in managing divers. Learn about the management of diving related conditions as well as physics and physiology of diving, fitness to dive, assessment and treatment of divers, decompression illness, hypothermia, hyperthermia, communication and evacuation procedures.
These courses are also a great opportunity to meet like-minded healthcare professionals and are generally great fun!
BHA Annual Scientific Meeting
Every November, the British Hyperbaric Association Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) takes place, hosted in turn by BHA members across the country. This is an excellent opportunity to meet and learn from clinicians from across the country that are experts in the field of Hyperbaric Medicine, and often from further afield too. Last year, the meeting was held at DDRC Healthcare in Plymouth which was a great success. This year the Annual Scientific Meeting is due to be held in London – it isn’t one to be missed!
Every other year the BHA ASM is combined with the UKDMC (UK Diving Medical Committee) conference – this means that there are talks about both hyperbarcs and diving medicine. The best combination we think!
Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) Online Diving Medicine Module
This online module runs over 3 months and introduces the key concepts of dive medicine, including the medical observation of divers, disease and organisms specific to the marine environment and the management of medical conditions and emergency situations.
Learning outcomes include:
- Demonstrate an understanding of the physics, physiology and pathophysiology relevant to the diving environment.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the equipment and procedures used in diving.
- Demonstrate an understanding of how diving accidents happen, how to identify them and how to manage them.
- Demonstrate an understanding of how the remote medical practitioner can help to prevent a diving accident by giving sound advice on safe environmental conditions, monitoring of divers and fitness to dive.
The module requires 9-10 hours of study per week, with starting dates in January, March, June and September each year. You will follow a schedule, with group discussions and assignments to complete at specific intervals.
This is the pre-requisite to attending the DMAC Level 1 (Medical Examiner of Divers) course.
DMAC Level 1 – Medical Assessment of Divers (Medical Examiner of Divers)
This two day face-to-face course provides training to enable doctors to perform “fitness to dive” assessments of working and recreational divers (and hyperbaric chamber workers). Following successful completion of this course a doctor working in the UK may contact HSE and apply to become a HSE Approved Medical Examiner of Divers (AMED).
Core modules include:
- Diving physics and physiology
- Safety in hyperbaric chambers
- Chamber and diving equipment
- Decompression illness (DCI)
- Fitness to dive regulations and standards (recreational and commercial) for divers and tunnellers
- Fitness to dive discussion and case histories
- Fitness to dive practical assessments and techniques including skills stations
- Fitness to dive after DCI
- Medications under pressure
- Practical training under pressure (pool/chamber)
- Funding, resources and support societies
- Clinical governance and risk assessment
- Management responsibilities
Note that to enrol on this course you must have previously completed the RCSEd Online Diving Medicine Module. To become an AMED, you must also have a recognised qualification in occupational medicine (minimum of diploma).
DMAC Level 2D – Medical management of Diving Accidents and Illnesses (Diving Medical Physician)
This five-day face-to-face course follows on from the DMAC Level 1 course. The Diving Medical Physician course focuses on the medical management of diving accidents and illnesses, rather than medical assessment of divers.
Core modules include:
- Physiology and Pathophysiology of Diving and Hyperbaric exposure – including hyperbaric and diving physics, gas effects under pressure, and medications under pressure.
- Diving technology and safety –including saturation diving techniques, tunnelling/caisson working, dive tables and procedures.
- Fitness to dive – including fitness to dive criteria, standards, assessment and contraindications.
- Diving Accidents – including incidents and accidents, remote management, decompression illness, rehabilitation, and accident investigation.
- Clinical Hyperbaric oxygen therapy – including indications, safety, chamber techniques and equipment, patient selection and nursing care.
- Practical training to include whenever possible a chamber dive to 40m, pool dive and simulated case management under pressure.
Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine Fellowship
If you want to gain a true insight into life as a Diving and Hyperbaric Physician, every year there are 1-2 junior doctor fellowship posts available at DDRC Healthcare in Plymouth.
This role involves:
- Assessment and management of emergency patients presenting with decompression illness and arterial gas embolism under the supervision and guidance of a senior diving doctor.
- Triage emergency telephone calls on a nationwide basis via the emergency diving advice line in conjunction with divers / emergency departments / ambulance service and coastguard.
- Perform recreational diving medicals under the supervision and guidance of a senior diving doctor.
- Perform weekly telephone “fitness to dive” telephone consultation clinics.
- Manage elective hyperbaric patients being treated for a number of indications (such as osteoradionecrosis and complex wounds) in conjunction with multidisciplinary team.
- Teach on a variety of courses (such as Diver Medic Technician, HSE Offshore, Expedition Dive Medicine, etc.)
- Engage with clinical governance/quality improvement projects.
- Develop own interests and projects according to individual career ambitions, supported by DDRC.
Posts run for 12 months every August. Applications usually open in October with interviews in December. If you’re interested keep your eye on the DDRC website/Instagram/twitter/Facebook!
Joseph Priestley Essay Prize
Here at the British Hyperbaric Association, there is an annual Joseph Priestley Essay Prize competition. This is a great way to research an area of diving or hyperbaric oxygen therapy that you’re particularly interested in.
The essay should be 1600-2000 words and may incorporate historical, practical, clinical facets, or reflect on matters of a social, political, commercial or technological nature related to diving or hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
The winner will be awarded the Joseph Priestley Essay Award, with a £1000 cash prize. The essay will also be published in the year end issue of the Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine Journal.
All GMC registered doctors are eligible, including those with provisional registration. This year’s competition closes on 1 October 2023, with the winner announced on 1 November 2023.
Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine Journal
The DHM journal is published quarterly jointly by the South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society (SPUMS) and the European Underwater and Baromedical Society (EUBS). This is a great way to keep up to date with current research in the field and inspire further work in the field of Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine.
Something really useful is that it is free to access the full journal after a year (you need to subscribe or be a member of SPUMS / EUBS to get the current year): DHMJ_Back Issues (dhmjournal.com)