The Alfred has provided medical service to the Australian Grand Prix for 22 years, setting up a portable medical centre equipped with the essential tools and medicines needed to respond to everything from minor medical issues through to life-threatening injuries.
A team of around 20 doctors and nurses is working across the four-day event at Albert Park, ready to meet the medical needs of drivers, their teams, and Grand Prix staff. St John Ambulance has multiple first-aid stations around the track to assist the public.
Emergency Physician Dr Jack Spencer has been at the helm of the Medical Centre since 2002 and enjoys being track-side to see the action.
“Not only are we here to help the drivers in the case of injury, we also clear them of any injury so that they can get back out on the track following a less-serious incident,” said Dr Spencer.
Nurse Sharee Scott leads the logistics and set-up of the medical centre, which consists of large demountable rooms turned into treatment cubicles, a burns room, and a trauma bay.
“We’ve got all of the air-way equipment in case we need to ventilate someone, we have ultrasound to see if there’s any bleeding, and we have x-ray,” said Scott.
In the unlikely event that surgery is required, the first preference is to get the patient to The Alfred, which is located approximately three minutes away by ambulance.
“Ambulance and police have quick channels across the road to The Alfred, it’s planned and sensible,” said Dr Spencer.
The medical centre is valuable to many of the international driving teams, many who’ve been on the racing circuit for an extended period of time.
“It means they haven’t had a chance to see a GP in a while, so they come to us for a variety of reasons like infections, problems with their feet, medical check-ups. Others arrive with gastro or a chest infection from travelling.”
The Alfred team hope they aren't needed but, if they are, they are ready to respond.