Background 30% of UK primary care consultations relate to gynaecology. Servicewomen access healthcare in general more frequently than their NHS counterparts, so military medical professionals are thus more likely to be managing significant numbers of gynaecological conditions on deployed military operations. Little is known about their confidence and preparedness in managing female-specific complaints. This study aimed to assess clinicians' views as to their training and confidence in managing gynaecological conditions; to gauge the need for developing treatment guidelines and specific training opportunities and to establish the frequency and scope of female-specific presentations on a military deployment.
Method A retrospective questionnaire-based service evaluation of clinical practice was undertaken via an anonymised questionnaire, which was distributed to 44 randomly selected Afghanistan-based UK military medical professionals in May 2014. All clinicians with sick parade duties were eligible for inclusion.
Results 23 (57.5%) military medical professionals reported managing one or more gynaecological conditions per month while deployed and 4 (25%) doctors treated more than 5 per month. Of those questioned, 21 (52.5%) felt underprepared to manage gynaecological conditions confidently. Two-thirds would attend a short course on the subject, 13 (32.5%) thought gynaecology should be included in medical predeployment training (PDT) and 26 (65%) wanted management guidelines included within Clinical Guidelines for Operations (CGOs).
Conclusions Military medical professionals treat servicewomen with gynaecological problems on deployment. Half of the medical professionals questioned felt they had insufficient training and experience to do so confidently. Training packages, as part of PDT or stand alone, were reported as acceptable methods of improving confidence and knowledge. The common gynaecological acute presentations were suggested as topics to be included in CGOs.
- MEDICAL EDUCATION & TRAINING
- PRIMARY CARE
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Contributors RS conceived the questionnaire objectives. MT and SE designed the questionnaire, contributed to data analysis and interpretation. MT reviewed literature, drafted all sections of the article. RS and SE provided critical and intellectual comment to revise the drafts. All authors approved the version of the article submitted for consideration.
Competing interests None declared.
Ethics approval Service evaluation registered and approved by the Academic Department of Military Emergency Medicine at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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