Accreditation – Explorer courses

This page seeks to clarify the situation regarding WMT Explorer courses with respect to expedition medic competencies, accreditation, the UK Health and Safety Executive and National Governing Body awards and BS8848.

Here’s a useful summary:

  • WMT Explorer courses are the informal industry standard, supported, recommended and endorsed by the likes of the Royal Geographical Society/IBG and World Challenge Expeditions.
  • There is no qualification structure in the UK for the level of medical training that WMT offers for overseas travellers, however there are recent guidelines (2015) related to expedition medic competencies which are relevant to laypeople. 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.
  • To our knowledge no UK NGB has ever rejected WMT training. (The BAIML awards CDP points for WMT courses).
  • British Standard 8848 is very clear that the medical cover on a trip must be commensurate with the venture.
  • WMT issues its own certificate and with it authorises its students for two years to obtain the medications we teach you about.
  • The phrase emergency medical technician does not carry any legal distinction in the UK, like nurse or paramedic does. Some training providers label their courses with this title but don’t be fooled!
  • WMT’s Explorer courses are widely recognised as the informal industry standard for people undertaking adventurous travel to overseas locations and our client list speaks for itself in this regard. For example, WMT has partnered with the RGS/IBG in London who have hosted our foundation Far From Help course many times and WMT is a ongoing partner with Glenmore Lodge, the Scottish National Outdoor Training Centre.

Are WMT courses HSE approved? The UK Health & Safety Executive NO LONGER approves first aid courses or awards its “kitemark” to courses. The HSE is only concerned with domestic UK policy so WMT training for laypeople operating in remote, overseas destinations is outside the HSE’s remit, with the exception of offshore installations (e.g. oil platforms) and diving operations. Within the UK, the HSE says that organisations must determine their own first aid cover needs based on a risk assessment, number of employees etc. and choose an appropriate syllabus delivered by a competent provider.

BS8848 Expedition groups, including schools and university researchers and commercial operators should familiarise themselves with the guidelines set out by BS8848 with regard to medical preparations and training for overseas activities (referred to as ventures). BS8848 clearly states that the medical cover you should have must be commensurate with the needs of the venture. Please see our web page BS8848.

WMT & UK NGB Awards. Though they are much more advanced, we have sought to align our Far From Help and Advanced Medicine courses with the syllabus requirements of the UK National Governing Bodies for registrants of outdoor instructor qualifications. There is no independent licensing body in the UK for the delivery of WMT-type training but our courses are accepted by the British Canoe Union (BCU), British Association of Ski Instructors (BASI), International Mountain Leader (IML), Mountain Leader Training (MLTUK) and Royal Yachting Association (RYA) as meeting the requirement for award holders to have a certain level of first aid training. Some organisations award CPD (continuing professional development) credits for WMT training that is above and beyond their pre-requisite first aid training, e.g. BAIML awards one CPD point for Far From Help and two for Advanced Medicine. At no time in WMT’s history have we been made aware that a student has had their WMT training rejected by any NGB.

Are WMT courses “certified”? There is no body in the UK that “certifies” WMT-type training. Certification from WMT is in the form of an A4 certificate, valid for 2 years, during which time we will also endorse the acquisition of the prescription medications discussed on your course.

WMT would like to point out that in the UK, the term Emergency Medical Technician (EMT or WEMT – W is for wilderness) is a loose title that carries no legal protection or distinction, unlike the terms nurse and paramedic which do (meaning you can’t call yourself a nurse or paramedic unless appropriately trained and professionally registered). This means that any training provider could advertise that it is offering an EMT course – but this does not imply that a nationally recognised qualification is being delivered, nor do such courses follow a prescribed or externally accredited syllabus. Beware of such marketing hype! EMT is very much an American term as is WFR – Wilderness First Responder. See our WFR page.