55 Field Surgical Team RAMC

The Last FST in Oman

A.H. Osborne and D.G. Raitt
Journal of the Royal Naval Medical Services Vol 64 Winter 1978 167 – 176

This FST was the only Joint Services FST. It was fifteen strong.

The Surgeon / Officer Commanding was from the Royal Navy.

The Anaesthetist was from the Royal Air Force.

The Resuscitation and Dental Officer were from the Royal Army Dental Corps.

The remainder of the team was from the RAMC;

OTTS (4)
Radiographer (1)
Lab Technician (1)
SRNs (2)
SENs (3)
WO I (1)

(Only the MOD could dream up such a combination and label it “Joint Services” ! Imagine the negotiations and politicking between the three services as they sought to put the team together!)-FWJdeB

Their main problem was supply – fortnightly C130. A lack of provision of nitrous oxide for eight weeks occurred through a failure to re-establish a cancellation of supply when it was thought that the FST was going to close. This obviously had a bearing on the anaesthetic techniques used.

The REs maintained their fleet of two ambulances,a Landrover and a “beach buggy”

Accommodation now “consisted of seven large tin huts”

Actiivity

  • 918 outpatients were seen at the FST and a further 170 at Umm-Al-Guariff.
  • 321 admissions to hospital
  • 715 X-Ray examinations were made – 1041 exposures
  • 655 Laboratory examinations were performed
  • 200 dental cases were attended to.
  • 101 elective non-battle surgical operations were performed e.g. inguinal hernia, meniscectomy etc
  • 26 non-battle emergency procedures e.g. perforated DU, intussusception
  • 34 primary trauma operations e.g. RTAs
  • 37 secondary procedures e.g. DPS and removal of fixation devices
  • 13 primary battle casualties were treated e.g. shrapnel and gunshot wounds
  • 31 secondary battle casualty procedures e.g. DPS etc
  • 239 operations in a four and a half month period. i.e. 18% battle related

It was customary during the Napoleonic wars that the Prize Money that was awarded when enemy ships were captured was divided amongst the crew of the ship according to rank.

I understand, from two independent sources that when the FST was finally closed down all the equipment that had been signed for was returned to the MOD.

That which had not been signed for or was declared u/s, which I am told included two Landrovers was disposed of locally. The proceeds of these disposals were then divided according to rank in the best RN tradition….

Those interested in the Prize System might like to consult three papers on the subject in Google Academia.

Division of prize money of £167,000 when the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Cavalier salvaged the coaster St Brandon in 1970.
Commanding Officer60 shares
Chief Petty Officer10 shares
Petty Officer8 shares
Leading Seaman6 shares
Able Seaman5 shares
Ordinary Seaman3 shares