Offshore medics work on fixed or mobile oil rigs and support vessels. They look after the health, safety and welfare of the crew. They often have other duties related to administration or health and safety at work.
You could be:
- conducting medical examinations and acting as a consultant when recruitment medical examinations are under review
- dealing with illness and injury which occurs onsite: dressing wounds, administering drugs, checking blood pressure, giving anti-tetanus injections
- providing 24-hour cover for emergency treatment and first aid
- maintaining onsite stocks of medical equipment and provisions
- contributing to occupational health and safety services onsite, chairing health and safety meetings and carrying out health promotions
- organising medical evacuations where a worker has to return onshore for immediate treatment
- communicating regularly with both the Onshore Company Doctor and the Offshore Installation Manager (OIM)
- completing a daily medical log and maintaining medical records.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
- where you work
- the size of the company or organisation you work for
- the demand for the job.
A typical starting salary can be £25,000 to £35,000 a year, rising to around £50,000 with experience. Salary includes allowance for working offshore plus a bonus scheme and pension.
- You spend alternately two weeks (in some cases four weeks) offshore, two weeks onshore, travelling to and from the rig by helicopter. Adverse weather conditions such as fog can often affect your travel arrangements.
- Offshore you work a 12-hour day shift but are on call round the clock in case of emergency.
- Offshore you mostly work in a clean, comfortable office beside the sick bay within the accommodation module of the oil rig.
- You normally work alone, with an onshore doctor at the end of a phone as your manager.
- When offshore you may be called out to attend to an emergency anywhere on the rig. Conditions can be cold, wet, stormy, dirty and noisy and you must wear protective gear.
- There can be some heavy lifting.
- There might be some trips abroad.
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There are two main routes into this type of work.
- You must either be a qualified and experienced Registered General Nurse (RGN) – see the job profile for Nurse: Registered (Adult) –, be a qualified and experienced medic from one of the Armed Services or a paramedic registered with the Health and Care professions council (HCPC) with post qualification experience - see the Paramedic job profile.
- Suitable service qualification levels include: Army Medical Corps Combat Medical Technician Class 1 (RAMC CMT Class 1), Royal Navy Leading Medical Assistant (LMA) or above, RAF Medical Branch Corporal or above.
- You must successfully complete an Offshore Medic Certificate course and an Offshore Survival Certificate (BOSIET) course, both approved by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The courses last four weeks and three days respectively, and cost a total of around £3,500-£5,000, depending on whether the training company organises placements for you or not.
- One approved offshore medic training provider, International SOS (previously Abermed Global Training), offers the Offshore Medical Certificate as a distance learning course.
- You will also need a valid Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) Offshore Medical Certificate. This involves passing a medical examination which classifies you as medically fit to work in the offshore environment. You must also provide evidence that you do not have, and have been immunised against, Hepatitis B.
- You will require a satisfactory PVG (Protecting Vulnerable Groups) check to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details.
- You will work for one of the oil companies which generally operate on a global scale.
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What Does it Take?
You should be:
- able to work alone – the only source of medical advice is the doctor onshore
- able to get on with a wide range of people
- sociable, with a sense of humour
- confident and assertive
- decisive, with good judgement.
- There are a number of centres around the UK and elsewhere which offer the Offshore Medic Certificate course. See the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website for a list of approved offshore medic training providers.
- The HSE states that if your work offshore is ongoing, you must renew the Offshore Medic Certificate every two years.
- You will normally take a two-day MIST (Minimum Industry Safety Training Standard) training course as part of your initial offshore training.
- There are other opportunities for Continuous Professional Development (CPD) – see below.
- After extra training you could undertake additional non-medical roles on the rig such as Helicopter Landing Officer or Radio Operator.
- Later on you could move into onshore work as, for example, an occupational health consultant to the oil industry. Further training will help. Useful qualifications include: Registered EMT (emergency medical technician), Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pre Hospital Trauma Life Support, First Aid Instructor.
- You could work as a medical trainer, medic crew co-ordinator or health and safety adviser.
- With sufficient experience you could go on to study part time online for the Diploma in Remote and Offshore Medicine (DipROM) offered by the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
Health and Safety Executive (Scotland) - Offshore Safety Division
The Health and Safety Executive also has offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness. Details may be found at the website given above.
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