Accreditation – Medic Courses

Aspiring and established expedition medics should acquaint themselves with recent guidelines (2015) related to expedition medic competencies which are relevant to anyone providing medical care in remote, austere environments. WMT courses are designed to align to this new guidance and WMT’s Medical Director Dr Harvey Pynn was the lead author of this paper published in the Journal of Extreme Physiology and Medicine which is available free online.

WMT courses count towards annual CPD requirements. This advice page aims to clarify how this works and we give an example showing how the WMT Chamonix Expedition Medicine (winter) course is equal to 17.5 CPD credits – one third of the required annual minimum of 50 CPD credits. Information on this page will help you to get support to attend a WMT programme on the basis that you will accumulate CPD credits for learning relevant to your personal development plan, current practice and educational aspirations. WMT will provide you with an appraisal form. Wilderness Medical Training courses are usually recognised educationally by post-graduate deans and many delegates are granted study leave and expenses. WMT Medic courses attract doctors of all grades and specialties, nurses, physiotherapists and other health professionals. We also include more detailed background information from the GMC’s guidelines on CPD.

In summary:

1. One credit of CPD is equivalent to one hour of learning activity, although GPs can claim two credits per hour of education if it results in changes to their patients, practice or the doctor.

2. A minimum of 50 hours CPD is expected of doctors annually.

3. There is no requirement for this learning to be formally accredited by a professional body. Doctors can record their own CPD which is based on the activity and the impact that it has on the doctor, their patients and the service. Self-accreditation of relevant activities and documented reflective learning should be allowed and encouraged. Credits are self-assessed and verified during appraisals. See this GMC webpage on CPD and this online GMC pdf which gives more detail.

4. CPD requires doctors to maintain and improve their standards across all areas of their practice – this includes all the professional roles that doctors currently perform and those that they plan or aspire to perform – which could include advising a patient who’s travelling (re: immunisations, compiling a medical kit, special risks like acute mountain sickness and malaria for example) or acting as a doctor on an expedition.

5. CPD should include activities both within and outside the employing institution, where there is one, and a balance of learning methods which include a component of active learning. Many deaneries recognise WMT training as robust and highly educational and grant study leave and/or expenses for students to attend our courses.

6. To maintain and improve their practice doctors must be involved in different types of activity. CPD activities should support career development. WMT courses use a number of recognised educational methods including lectures, discussion groups and peer learning, practical skills acquisition and learning to utilise medical skills in different environments.

7. When completing appraisal documentation you can identify wilderness, expedition or remote medicine as a learning need and elaborate on the subjects to be covered during a WMT course.

Examples include:
Travel medicine – Update on immunisations. Choosing suitable antimalarials. Assessing fevers in tropical travellers. Management of bites and stings. Pre-existing health problems.

Environmental medicine – Cold injuries. Altitude illnesses. Heat-related illnesses. Avalanche danger and casualty location and extrication.

Pre-hospital medicine – Injury assessment and management. Pain control in a pre-hospital setting. Choosing suitable medical supplies.

Orthopaedic injuries. Maxillo-facial problems and trauma. Ophthalmic trauma and eye conditions.

Practical skills – Patient packaging and transport. Use of radios for relaying medical information. Practical splinting. Improvised vehicle extrication and accident scene safety.

Example of WMT Course CPD Credits

Chamonix Expedition Medicine Programme (winter)

Day 1 – Introduction to Expeditions. Traumatic and Cold Injuries
1500-1545 Welcome & introductions
An expedition doctor’s case book – course overview 0.75
1545-1645 Trauma management: head injuries, fractures & dislocations 1.0
1645-1715 Break
1715-1815 Frostbite – alpine management 1.0
1830 – 1930 Keynote address – Alpine Mountain Rescue 1.0

Day 2 – Planning & Pre-Expedition Considerations
1500-1530 Legal liability and insurance 0.5
1530-1600 Medical planning 0.5
1600-1630 Choosing a medical kit – group discussion 0.5
1630-1645 Incident management – discussion 0.25
1645-1715 Break
1715-1800 Expedition dentistry & maxillofacial injuries 0.75
18.15-19.15 General Interest lecture – working in Nepal 1.0

Day 3 – Medicine in the Outdoor Environment
0930-1230 – Half day of outdoor practical sessions and scenario-based problem solving exercises including:
• Use of radios 3.0
• Vehicle extrication & scene safety
• Trauma management
• Practical fracture management
• Safety on steep terrain – some practical rope tricks
1830 -1930 General interest lecture – ophthalmology in Kenya 1.0

Day 4 – Mountain Medicine
1500-1530 Human dynamics on expedition – leadership & teamwork 0.5
1530-1615 Altitude illness – theory & practice 0.75
1615-1645 Hypothermia 0.5
1645-1715 Break
1715-1800 The eye at altitude and other eye problems 0.75
1800-1830 Avalanche risks: don’t go if you don’t know! 0.5
18.30-19.30 Working in Arctic Winter Conditions 1.0

Day 5 – Hot, Wet, Deep and Dangerous Environments
1500-1545 Hyperthermia & dehydration 0.75
1545-1645 Swift water search & rescue. Diving medicine 1.0
1645-1715 Break
1715-1800 Living and working in the jungle 0.75
1800-1900 Medical opportunities on expeditions 1.0


Visit this link for further reading taken from and abridged from the General Medical Council guidelines on CPD.