Australian Medical Assistance Teams (AUSMAT) are multi-disciplinary health teams incorporating doctors, nurses, paramedics, fire-fighters (logisticians) and allied health staff such as environmental health staff, radiographers and pharmacists.
They are designed to be self-sufficient, experienced teams that can rapidly respond to a disaster zone to provide life saving treatment to casualties, in support of the local health response.
AUSMATs can be considered in two tiers, state responses (intra or inter state), and national responses. This will be in conjunction with a large cache of medical and self-sufficiency equipment that is stored in the NT, and is pre-packed ready for multiple health disaster scenarios.
Significant developments have occurred at a national level for AUSMAT, with the Australian Health Protection Committee agreeing to put the NCCTRC on standby for AUSMAT response 24/7 for all of 2012, with support from a rolling roster of other states in three month blocks. This significant development recognises our capacity and development of capability, and is a huge honour for the NT and the NCCTRC.
The NCCTRC works on a regular basis with government agencies, in particular, EMA-AGD, DFAT, AusAID and the Department of Health, as well as the office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. It has formal representation on national working groups such as the AUSMAT Working Group, through Department of Health and Ageing Canberra, and the Deployment Working Group through Emergency Management Australia, and on the newly formed “Foreign Medical Team” Working Group at the World Health organisation (WHO)in Geneva.
All these working groups have, as their goal, a streamlined process of safe medical team deployment into disaster regions. They vary in focus from the tactical/operational elements of the AUSMAT working Group, to the national and strategic coordination and tasking at the federal level, to the global standards, registration and coordination of international teams through the WHO. These meetings continue to inform local practice at the NCCTRC, and the NCCTRC model is used in many cases, as an example to guide others, particularly in the areas of training, heat adaptation, uniforms and rapidly deployable caches.
Training and equipment familiarisation for international response must be of the highest standard, which remains the focus of AUSMAT training at the NCCTRC.
NO REGISTRATIONS for AusMAT deployment and training 2016:
The NCCTRC wishes to advise there will be no AusMAT Training for new members in 2016. The AUSMAT Training and the assessment of the existing AUSMAT human resource capability is currently under review.
We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and encourage you to visit the NCCTRC website in late 2016 to identify potential AusMAT Training in 2017.
Team Member Courses
For team members, and are mandatory, before a candidate can be considered suitable to deploy on an AUSMAT mission.
The course focuses on preparing and testing candates for international deployment. Ensuring that the candidate is exposed to not only theoretical knowledge on subjects such as the humanitarian space, disaster response and the role of AUSMAT when deployed, but the mental and physical challenges of deploying into a disaster zone. The course runs over three days and includes a full simulation in the field where candidates use equipment they will deploy with and are expected to plan and prepare as if it was a real event.
Other mandatory requirements for each successful candidate include registration on the NCCTRC database, vaccine programme, medical and fitness checks, and ongoing training/exercises, foreign language classes etc. all coordinated by the NCCTRC.
These courses are now run in conjunction with the NCCTRC in the following states and territories: Northern Territory, South Australia, Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales and New Zealand in 2014.
These are offered for NCCTRC/NT staff, and for selected state, national, military and international candidates, that have been nominated by their jurisdiction. These courses are facilitated by experienced staff from the NCCTRC and we continue to welcome national and international experts in disaster management and medical response to teach on our courses, and are indebted to them for their passion to teach at such a high level.
These courses are for specialist AusMAT training, in particular Surgeons, anaesthetists, team leaders, needs assessment specialists, and medical logisticians. Each course focuses on the area of speciality.
Surgeons and Anaesthatists are provided with the opportunity over four days to learn from experts who have dedicated their lives to working in difficult, complex humanitarian disasters, often with limited resources. Ensuring that correct surgical techniques are used when managing challenging surgical cases post disaster, as have been seen post Hati, Solomons and the boxing day tusnami. The course includes all the elements that team members are required to complete to ensure surgical teams are well prepared including building and sustaining a field hopsital throughout an AusMAT deployment.
Team Leaders / Needs Assessment spend seven days developing candidates for possible leadership of an AusMAT team. Candidates are carefully selected from the NT and Australia. The course includes representatives from relevant federal agencies to ensure candidates understand the framework of AusMAT and its role in disaster response. International experts on disaster response, negotiation and needs assessment are essential faculty for this course, ensuring the candidate has the best opportunity to access extensive experience during their training. The course requires the candidates to compelte core elements of the Team Members course but is provided a challenging physical and mental field exercise that includes a full needs assessment, negotiation with complex characters, ethical and moral delimas and ardous terraine.
Medical Logistics Course will be run later this year for the first time in Australia. The course provides logistics officers for AUSMAT's to test and develop sufficient skills to set up and maintain a field health facility, field surgical unit or respond as part of a needs assessment team in a disaster zone. The course includes teaching on water supply/filtration, sanitation, power, cold chains, medical disposal and camp planning. It is supported by a faculty from the NCCTRC, and international experts with WASH and Logistics field experience. The candidates will be required to complete an overnight field deployment using all of the NCCTRC cache and equipment to ensure the practical aspects of camp design theory are tested in the field.
All AUSMAT courses are run in conjunction with our humanitarian training partners RedR Australia. The structure and design of the NCCTRC AUSMAT courses has seen them internationally recognized. Candidates should expect a challenging but extremely rewarding course, uniquely austere, with a high level of “immersion” and simulation unlike any other you will have completed.