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A pilot study to evaluate the utility of live training (LIVEX) in the operational preparedness of UK military trauma teams
  1. J E Smith1,
  2. R D J Withnall2,
  3. R F Rickard3,
  4. D Lamb4,
  5. A Sitch5,
  6. T J Hodgetts6
  1. 1Academic Department of Military Emergency Medicine, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Birmingham, UK
  2. 2Department of General Practice & Primary Care, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Birmingham, UK
  3. 3Department of Military Surgery and Trauma, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Birmingham, UK
  4. 4Department of Military Nursing, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Birmingham, UK
  5. 5Department of Public Health, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  6. 6Medical Director Defence Medical Services, Medical Directorate, Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Jason E Smith Academic Department of Military Emergency Medicine, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, ICT Building, Vincent Drive, Birmingham, B15 2SQ, UK; jasonesmith{at}


Background With the end of UK military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is essential that peacetime training of Defence Medical Services (DMS) trauma teams ensures appropriate future preparedness. A new model of pre-deployment training involves placement of formed military trauma teams into civilian trauma centres. This study evaluates the benefit of ‘live training during an exercise period’ (LIVEX) for DMS trauma teams.

Methods A cross-sectional questionnaire-based survey of participants was conducted. Quantitative data were collected prior to the start and on the final day. Written reports were collected from the coordinators. Thematic analysis was used to identify emergent themes in a supplementary, qualitative analysis.

Results Each team comprised 13 personnel and results should be interpreted with knowledge of this small sample size. The response rate for both the pre-LIVEX and post-LIVEX questionnaire was 100%. By the end of the week, 89% of participants (n=23) stated LIVEX was an ‘appropriate or very appropriate’ way of preparing for an operational role compared with 40% (n=9) before the exercise (p<0.01). However, completing LIVEX made no difference to participants' personal perception of their own operational preparedness. Thematic analysis suggested greater training benefit for more junior members of the team; from Regulars and Reservists training together; and from two-way exchange of information between DMS and National Health Service medical staffs.

Conclusions Completing LIVEX made no statistically significant difference to participants' personal perception of their own operational preparedness, but the perception of LIVEX as an appropriate training platform improved significantly after conducting the training exercise.

  • EDUCATION & TRAINING (see Medical Education & Training)

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  • Contributors TJH conceived the study. JES designed the questionnaire and wrote the initial draft of the manuscript. RDJW, RFR and DL had input to the design of the questionnaire and revised subsequent versions of the manuscript. RDJW and AS performed the data analysis. All authors have had input to and approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval The study was registered as a service evaluation with the Medical Directorate, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Birmingham (RCDM/Res/Audit/1036.15.0450).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.