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Lessons from the organisation of the UK medical services deployed in support of Operation TELIC (Iraq) and Operation HERRICK (Afghanistan)
  1. Martin C M Bricknell1 and
  2. M Nadin2
  1. 1Ministry of Defence, Director Medical Policy and Operational Capability, Whitehall, London, UK
  2. 2Capability Directorate (Army), Formerly Head of Medical Capability (Army), Andover, UK
  1. Correspondence to Maj Gen Martin C Bricknell, Director Medical Policy and Operational Capability, Ministry of Defence, Whitehall, SW1A 2HB London, UK; martin{at}


This paper provides the definitive record of the UK Defence Medical Services (DMS) lessons from the organisation of medical services in support of Operation (Op) TELIC (Iraq) and Op HERRICK (Afghanistan). The analysis involved a detailed review of the published academic literature, internal post-operational tour reports and post-tour interviews. The list of lessons was reviewed through three Military Judgement Panel cycles producing the single synthesis ‘the golden thread’ and eight ‘silver bullets’ as themes to institutionalise the learning to deliver the golden thread. One additional theme, mentoring indigenous healthcare systems and providers, emerged as a completely new capability requirement. The DMS has established a programme of work to implement these lessons.


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  • Contributors This article was conceived and written by both authors. MCMB is the guarantor.

  • Competing interests None declared.

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

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