Lieutenant Colonel Chris Gibson tells HSJ how the Army Medical Services Training Centre prepared a trauma medical team to work in Sierra Leone in just four weeks during the Ebola epidemic   

In August 2014 the World Health Organisation declared an international health emergency following the largest outbreak of Ebola the world had seen. 

As part of a joint international response, the UK pledged to deliver 700 treatment beds in Sierra Leone and an Ebola Virus Disease Training Academy. This included the creation of operation GRITROCK led by the Army Medical Services Training Centre (AMSTC).

The team leading operation GRITROCK, headed by Lieutenant Colonel Chris Gibson were tasked with designing a treatment unit to accommodate 146 personnel and to train that personnel to work within a completely new health enviroment – they had just four weeks to do this. 

 “We needed to prove that we were not this one trick pony and could rise to the challenge of dealing with infectious diseases”

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“It became apparent that the formula one style hospital trauma with multiple hands and connective activity around the patient wasn’t fit for purpose”



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Staff were given a detailed handbook to help them through training and when deployed. This included a body chart detailing the signs and symptoms of the Ebola virus.

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Lieutenant Colonel Chris Gibson is former instructor at the Army Medical Services Training Centre