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A Personal View – 6 Months in a Fob
  1. Capt D J Cooper, MBChB MSc, GDMO1
  1. 116 Medical Regiment, Merville Barracks, Colchester, Essex CO2 7NZ djcooper{at}


General Duty Medical Officers (GDMOs) may deploy within days of completing their Entry Officers Course thereby missing the pre-deployment training undertaken by the Regiment that they join. They can be attached to a unit that they have never worked with and it is often the first time that they have worked in isolation. There is a steep learning curve both medically and militarily. GDMOs have to rapidly learn about medical resupply, environmental health, casualty evacuation and be prepared for the ethical and moral decisions they will have to make, especially when treating local nationals. This article describes the experiences of GDMOs from 16 Medical Support Regiment in Forward Operating Bases on Operation Herrick 8 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. It aims to show that with careful thought and preparation future GDMOs can overcome any shortcomings in their pre-deployment training or difficulties they may face when working in a FOB.

This article is based on a presentation by the author at the Clinical Training Day Conference at the Permanent Joint Headquarters in November 2008.

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