Press Releases

Media Release – 21 March 2016

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Festival Medical Services Gears Up for New Season after Record Success in 2015
The unique charity which provides medical services for Glastonbury and Reading music festivals is gearing up for the new season following a highly successful 2015.


Festival Medical Services’ teams of volunteer doctors, nurses and health professionals covered 12 outdoor entertainment events in total last year attended by 333,000 people.


Of these, 6801 required medical attention on site, but only 93 or 1.4 per cent had to be taken off site for hospital treatment.


That’s because at the bigger events covered FMS offers full emergency medical services, plus other healthcare services such as dentistry, podiatry and physiotherapy, in its on-site “hospital” area and most types of treatment can be safely delivered in situ.


It is also now an established training provider and runs courses enabling its volunteers to renew or upgrade their essential clinical qualifications.


Managing Director Dr Chris Howes, from Croscombe, near Wells, said: “The organisation we have grown into is scarcely recognisable as that which received its first patient in a kitchen at Worthy Farm, Glastonbury, 37 years ago in 1979.


“In 2015, we covered 12 events including the Glastonbury Festival and Extravaganza, Pilton Party and Buddhafield, all in Somerset – together with Reading Festival, Swindon & Wiltshire Pride, and the Mutiny Festival in Sussex.


“We achieve very high standards of clinical care and never let the sometimes taxing conditions in which we work excuse anything less. Feedback from promoters has been very positive and patient surveys confirm a high level of satisfaction with our service.
“Running through everything we do is the volunteering ethos that makes us unique among providers of large-event medical services and is the source of the welcoming and supportive atmosphere enjoyed by all our members.”


Dr Howes said planning for this summer season of festivals and outdoor events was now in full swing, and even more sophisticated clinical equipment will be available on sites – such as a new portable ultrasound machine – donated by imaging specialists Nuada Group.


Dr Howes said: “This will be a really useful addition to the services we already offer on site. It is very rare for us to receive patients affected by severe trauma, for example, but if we did, this technology would enable us to perform fast and potentially life-saving scans on-the-spot.”


The events foot the bill for medical cover and FMS does not charge patients for its services, though they often voluntarily make donations to show their appreciation.


FMS chooses to support a selection of mainly health-oriented charities from the money it earns.


Last year FMS donated £85,000 divided between eight charities. These included the White Ribbon Alliance – which immediately responded to the earthquakes in Nepal last spring – particularly caring for affected mothers and babies.


Dr Howes said: “This year the donations received from Glastonbury and Reading patients were specifically used to help a seven-year-old girl at the Kambeng Trust clinic in the Gambia.


“Satang had fallen into an open fire and suffered severe burns to her hands which meant her movement in them was severely restricted. The donations are covering the cost of several operations and skin grafts and she can now feed and dress
herself again and is learning to write.”


The full list of supported charities also features:


Kambeng Trust – supporting healthcare and community development in the Gambia


Lalibela Trust – building rural health posts and a maternity hospital in Ethiopia


Tulsi Trust – helping develop healthcare for refugees and the indigenous aboriginals of Madhya Pradesh, India


Nepal Leprosy Trust – Supporting a ten-day surgical session which treated 30 patients, including children, with severe hand deformities.


White Ribbon Alliance – contributing to maternal health camps for women and babies affected by the earthquakes which struck Nepal in spring 2015


Hemalkasa Health Foundation – purchasing an x-ray digitaliser for the hospital in Hemalkasa, India


Sandy Gall Afghanistan Appeal – supporting surgery on children suffering trauma or gunshot wounds in recently war-torn Afghanistan


And in the UK – Supporting the newsletter production costs of the Bury/Bolton ME Support Group.


For further information, please contact Caroline Welch of FMS on 07880 508657

Media Release 

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Injured Afghan boy will walk again – with help from Glastonbury Fans’ Donations to Festival Medical Services

A 12-year-old Afghan boy who lost part of his leg in an explosion will soon be up and around again – thanks partly to money raised by Festival Medical Services (FMS) at Glastonbury last summer.

Critical metal pins and screws – costing just £30 and paid for by FMS – made all the difference between young Zabi spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair or not.

FMS provides teams of volunteer doctors, nurses and health professionals to deliver medical services to fans at Glastonbury, Reading and other pop festivals every year.

Patients are not charged for its services, but they often voluntarily make donations to show their appreciation, and FMS pass this on to health charities in the UK and abroad, along with monies from grateful festival organisers.

Zabi, lives in Northern Afghanistan and his accident happened when he followed his family’s goats into an unmarked minefield and stepped on an old Russian mine, probably from the 1980s era of occupation.

His father and fellow villagers picked their way through the minefield to reach him and, after using a towel to drag him out, they then travelled with him for eight hours to the nearest hospital.

There they were unable to treat such a severe injury. After an emergency blood transfusion from father to son, a taxi took them on to the larger regional hospital in Mazar i sharif. This took a further 12 hours.

Fortunately, this is the hospital where FMS has previously donated equipment and volunteer staff to teach the local staff resuscitation and safe surgery techniques.

Mazar orthopaedic surgeon, Rahimullah, found Zabi’s severely injured right lower leg could not be repaired. In addition, his upper leg bone was broken in two places. He put a pin and screws into the upper leg and amputated the rest just above the knee.

It will soon have healed sufficiently for a prosthetic (false) leg to be made for Zabi so he can learn to walk again and re-join his friends and school in his village.

FMS Trustee and professional paramedic Nich Woolf, from Burnham-on-Sea, said: “I have had the privilege of working as a volunteer medical teacher at Mazar Hospital for several weeks at a time over the past three years.

“It makes us all at FMS immensely proud that the skills we have helped to pass on, and the relatively inexpensive equipment we have helped to purchase, can be used to make such a dramatic difference to the lives of innocent Afghan people caught up in the conflict in their country. In Zabi’s case, the vital metal pieces needed to save his life cost only about £30.

“Festival Medical Services will be at Glastonbury and Reading festivals again this summer and we hope to raise more donations from our grateful patients, so we can continue to deliver life-changing successes like this.”

In 2014/15 FMS donated £100,000, divided between several charities, including some closer to home, such as the Jessie May Trust, in Bristol, which cares for children with life-limiting conditions. The money which reaches Afghanistan is donated through the Sandy Gall Afghanistan Appeal, founded by the former ITN newscaster.

Donations to Festival Medical Services are welcome.

They can be made via electronic transfer to the FMS account, which is held at the Co-Op Bank. The account is Festival Medical Services, Sort Code 089299, Account No 65333165

Taxpayers can Gift Aid their donation by obtaining a form via admin@festival-medical.org

More details are available on our website www.festival-medical.org

For further information:

On Monday April 20 Nich Woolf will be available for media interview on

0777 3333262

Twelve-year-old Zabi smiles again following his surgery in Afghanistan