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Event Medicine: Cover on the Cheap?

As someone who has spent over fifteen years working in event medical cover as the former operations manager and emergency medical technician for an independent ambulance and event medical provider and have provided event emergency planning for some major international events and I am dismayed by the current ‘trend’ from some event organisers when they go for ‘first aid on the cheap’.

We are hearing time and time again across small and more worryingly, larger events that the organisers are being approached by ‘a local with a first aid certificate’ who can cover their event at a greatly reduced cost (or free in some cases) compared to the charges incurred to the event by contracting a reputable event medical and first aid provider.

Usually this ‘first aid cover’ is provided by a friend/local/member of committee who has a first aid certificate and basic kit.

This is unfortunately becoming more and more common as event organisers struggle to balance the books on their public events.

Event First Aid or Event Medical Cover is a control measure. Something that although you know is needed and sometimes a requirement of your event insurance or risk assessment, often they seem to have nothing to do on the day.

All well and good, until something serious happens.

  • Can they cope?
  • Are they insured?
  • Do they have the experience to deal with anything that may be thrown at them?

99 times out of 100 first aid at an event is a quiet role but should the unthinkable happen wouldn’t you rather medical cover who have the experience, knowledge and equipment to deal with anything that might occur?

We admit that most of the time, event medicine involves a lot of sitting around and occasionally dealing with minor cuts and injuries which could be dealt with by any decent first aider. But the difference is, professional staff have the training to deal with anything that may happen.

So why do organisers think ‘the local person’ can save them money when they may not be able to provide the same level of cover as that from a reputable provider? Should things go wrong, there could well be larger costs involved especially if the organiser ends up in court.

The HSE in The Event Safety guide recommend even for small events the minimum first aid requirement is 2 first aiders for up to a thousand people (2:1000). Remember this is the MINIMUM requirement. The Guide then goes into needs assessments which can increase these numbers rapidly.

Nowhere does it say that one first aider is technically acceptable to cover an event where members of the public are present. A reputable company will always provide two or more, you may pay for less than you’ll get if you’re lucky.

Pros and cons of contracting a company over a ‘local’ person

Reputable Company

  • Insured to perform their duties.
  • Fully Equipped to deal with any type of incident that may occur.
  • Qualified, knowledgeable and experienced staff over basic first aid level
  • Will turn up for event as they’re booked
  • Professional and Reliable

'Local Person with FA Certificate'

  • Has a First Aid Kit
  • Has a FA qualification.
  • Are they competent?
  • If event is rescheduled, can they make the new date?
  • Do they have insurance?
  • Are they related to someone there? If so, what happens if they have to take them to hospital? Does your event stop? Legally, it should!

We work only with reputable event medical and first aid providers across the United Kingdom. Companies we've checked and worked alongside so we know they meet our stringent standards.

If you want to check what level of cover you have, or need, please ask, we will give you an independent assessment according to the latest HSE (Health and Safety Executive) Guidelines.

Contact Us for more details.

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Event Medicine: Cover on the Cheap?

As someone who has spent over fifteen years working in event medical cover as the former operations manager and emergency medical technician for an independent ambulance and event medical provider and have provided event emergency planning for some major international events and I am dismayed by the current ‘trend’ from some event organisers when they go for ‘first aid on the cheap’.