FMS has a team of established doctors who work in the strange environment of a tent in a field with poor light and limited facilities in order to provide a voluntary service at public events where there otherwise would be none. Any surplus income generated from this activity goes to a selection of small Charities (most in third world countries). The working environment and facilities vary from festival to festival as we serve one day events through to Glastonbury Festival.
The skills required are those for frontline medicine and from General Practice though to emergency medicine. Others with general experience will be considered but sub-specialists really struggle to work in essentially a frontline environment seeing a diverse array of conditions. So in summary we need:
- ED Consultants
- ED ST4 and above
- Qualified GPs
- Psychiatrists ST5 and above
The age range of patients varies between festivals, some being a narrow age range like Reading where festival goers are mostly under 25 and others like Glastonbury which spans the cradle to the grave. The cover required at festivals varies from a couple of doctors along with a nurse and paramedic to a four medical unit service at Glastonbury. The major medical site at GF is supported by radiology and USS services and on call advice by a variety of specialists. A shift team here would comprise an A&E consultant, Anaesthetist, a GP or two and another doctor alongside other disciplines like nurses, physio, podiatry etc. The shifts are often busy and varied depending on the unit and the time of day. The aim is to try and enable people to stay on site partly for their convenience and pleasure and partly to avoid the local health service being overloaded. Although the skills of doctors mean that some procedures can be performed (reduction of Colles fracture, suturing, monitoring of alcohol intoxication (and even delivery of babies if absolutely necessary!) it is very much a pre-hospital environment and doctors are not expected to either work outside their competence nor expect to offer a hospital service.
The Mental Health Team work alongside the physical health service with 2-3 qualified mental health nurses and a psychiatrist for each shift at Reading and Glastonbury. A major part of the work is dealing with the complications of over exuberance but given the numbers attending festivals, there is also a need to deal with other unrelated mental health presentations, for example, anxiety, depression and psychosis. There are currently no vacancies on the psychiatric team.
We are currently working with a ‘waiting list’ but welcome any interested enquiries or applications. If you feel you can offer the skills outlined now or in the future, or like the ethos of the charity and can contribute in a different way there is a vast array of allied skills involved in running this service which you may feel able to offer. We are happy to receive emails to ask if qualifications and specialities are appropriate. The year starts with Reading Festival in August.