A Lancaster Army Reservist has swapped his day job as a specialist in emergency medicine to train alongside US Navy personnel in sunny California.
Major Matt Lynch normally works for East Cheshire NHS Trust at Macclesfield District General Hospital but in his spare time serves with 208 (Liverpool) Field Hospital.
Around 100 soldiers from 208 Field Hospital travelled to San Diego, California, where, for the first time ever, British medics were put through their paces by US Navy medics in an exercise designed to test how they performed in their new post-Afghanistan role.
Matt, 47, who now lives in Macclesfield, has been in the Army Reserve for seven years and has served in Afghanistan twice.
Unlike civilian medics, Army medics must know how to build their own hospital from scratch. Matt says the training in California has been invaluable.
He said: “We’ve been building a temporary tented hospital here which we would use as our first medical facility in any deployment. It’s been good, the weather’s better than home, but it’s also good to use other nation’s kit because it’s likely that on any future deployment we may end up using it for real.
“My friends and family are a little bit jealous that I’m here in California, they may think it’s all beaches and sunshine - not realising that we’re wearing hard hats, building a hospital in the blazing sun.”
In recent years Field Hospital training has revolved around the purpose-built British military hospital which ran at Camp Bastion, in Afghanistan.
But the profession is now returning to its original role of treating the sick and injured under canvas, at short notice anywhere in the world, alongside partner nation medics – such as those from the US.