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Impact of military medicine on civilian medical practice in the UK from 2009 to 2020
  1. Katherine France1 and
  2. C Handford2
  1. 1 General Surgery, James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, UK
  2. 2 Orthopaedics, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Maj Katherine France, General Surgery, James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough TS4 3BW, UK; Katherine.france3{at}


Introduction The positive impact of advances in military medicine and the influence these have had on civilian medical practice have been well documented throughout history: this review will be looking specifically between 2009 and 2020.

Aims Review of innovations that have been implemented or have influenced civilian practice within the areas of trauma, disease outbreak management and civilian systems between 2009 and 2020. This review will also aim to explore the impact that working with or within the military can have on individuals within civilian healthcare systems and the future challenges we face to maintain skills.

Results Using a narrative approach to this review, we found that there have been numerous changes to trauma management within the UK, based on military practice and research during conflict, which have improved survival outcomes. In addition, the use of niche military skills as part of a coordinated response, during both internal and international disease outbreaks, are thought to have supported civilian systems enabling an efficient and prolonged response. Furthermore, adaptation of military concepts and their application to the NHS through consultant-led prehospital teams, centralisation of specialties in the form of major trauma centres and the introduction of guidelines to manage 'major incidents and mass casualty events' in 2018 have improved patient outcomes.

Conclusion From 2009 to 2020, lessons learnt from the British and other nations’ militaries have been integrated into UK practice and have likely contributed to improved outcomes in the management of major incidents both nationally and internationally.

  • trauma management
  • international health services
  • accident & emergency medicine
  • education & training (see medical education & training)
  • organisational development
  • organisation of health services

Data availability statement

Data sharing is not applicable as no datasets were generated and/or analysed for this study. N/A.

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  • Contributors The title for this article was provided by the Royal Society of Medicine Military Council essay prize awarded by the Colt Foundation in 2019. KF and CH both planned, researched and produced the work. Both KF and CH reviewed the submitted final article and were responsible for the overall content of the piece.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.