British Eventing is delighted to announce two new appointments, which will help to ensure its members continue to receive the best possible medical care when competing.

Throughout this year, British Eventing’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Katharine Hartington has been working to bring together a team to help her drive forward medical care in the sport. The new appointments will not only seek to meet the challenges brought about by the current pandemic, but also to push boundaries in providing leading medical care on the scene.

Craig Harris joins the team as Honorary Chief Paramedic Officer. Craig brings a vast amount of knowledge and experience to the role, both from the equestrian world and beyond. He runs a very successful company delivering medical care for events in the South West, which covers everything from British Eventing competitions to music festivals. Having ridden from a young age himself, he is a huge supporter of eventing and has been providing paramedic cover for BE for almost 20 years.

“Paramedics are absolutely vital to how we deliver our full medical cover,” said Katharine. “They are increasingly becoming more of their own independent practitioners and we are regularly seeing new announcements from the College of Paramedics on what they can do, how they are organised and updates to the qualifications. Having someone who is on top of those developments, as well as someone who really understands the ambulance provision across the UK, is an enormous benefit to British Eventing – especially in the current climate with local ambulance services under such pressure. Craig is greatly invested in British Eventing and we look forward to benefitting from the great breadth of his experience.”

“I’m absolutely honoured to be asked to be the Chief Paramedic Officer for BE,” said Craig. “I’ve done a lot for the sport over the years to try and bring it forward from the paramedic side, but all in an unofficial role, so to be asked to be a member of the team is really exciting.

“The aim will be to try to advance the scope of the paramedic cover, providing better service for the riders and making the sport safer for all. Because of Covid there has been a massive shortage in appropriately trained medical people to cover events properly and we anticipate this will continue into 2022.  We will be to be there to support organisers in arranging their medical provision and being confident in it. We will also provide advice and support for those medical companies who may not have covered BE event before, helping to bring new talent into the sport.

“We want British Eventing to be at the forefront of equestrian medicine, so we will also be seeking to push forward with some research. We’ve already had some conversations with some air ambulances that are really keen to do some head injury stuff with us next year, for example, so it is exciting to see what can be achieved.”

The second appointment is Jonathan Forty, who joins as Deputy Chief Medical Officer.

Jonathan is an incredibly experienced cardiothoracic surgeon with a strong background in training. He is currently the National Programme Director for Advanced Trauma Life  Support (ATLS) ® for the Royal College of Surgeons of England and is regularly involved in the training of both new and experienced doctors in trauma care. Like Craig, he is a keen supporter of British Eventing and has been involved in providing medical cover at events from grassroots level through to international competitions, like Blair, Somerford Park and Burgham.

“Jonathan has been a great support to British Eventing,” said Katharine. “He is hugely experienced, has a keen eye for detail, pushes for the highest standards and is a very good trainer. Providing joint training for doctors and paramedics, bringing together everyone who covers equestrian events, will be crucial for helping us provide better care for injured riders at scene.

“Jonathan also brings the added advantage of being based up in Northumberland, giving us the regional picture of what is going on with the NHS in the North. With me in the South East and Craig in the South West; between us we cover most corners of the UK.”

“Eventing has been my wife’s sport for many years,” said Jonathan. “We love the sport and have made some very good friends here, so it’s great to be able to try and bring some of my expertise into the eventing community.

“As a surgeon, I have always had an interest in trauma medicine so I look forward to seeing how we can drive forward the scope of medical cover at events. Paramedics have a very important role to play in a team providing immediate medical care, so having Craig within our team is a really big step forward. I look forward to seeing what we will be able to achieve together.”

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