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Physiotherapy support to the Carrier Strike Group
  1. T Rutter and
  2. J J Matthews

Abstract

The recent First of Class Flying Trials for the F-35 Lightning 2 took place on HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH (QNLZ) during the WESTLANT 18 deployment. WESTLANT 18 took place over four months off the eastern seaboard of the United States of America and involved a busy daily flying programme. The deployment was supported by a full Role 2 Afloat (R2A) team. The Role 1 team onboard was augmented during WESTLANT 18 with a physiotherapist. Data collected during WESTLANT 18 suggests that provision of a physiotherapist to support the Carrier Strike Group (CSG) is a force enabler and force protection asset, as they are able to keep patients on board who would otherwise require aeromedical evacuation back to the United Kingdom. The deployed physiotherapist was well employed and, when complemented by plain radiography and supported by an embarked orthopaedic surgeon, saved a significant amount of lost working hours and the associated costs of investigations and treatment in the host nation. This reduces the risk to operational capability due to musculoskeletal injury to the aircrew or to the ship’s company and embarked forces.

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