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Veteran Midland medic to lead team in Afghanistan

30th January 2009

IT will be a case of grandad’s army for this former Midland hospital boss when he leads a 100 medics deep into war-torn Afghanistan.

For 61-year-old Duncan Phimister will be marking the end of his 29-year military career with a three-month stint in Afghanistan.

Based at Camp Bastion, in Helmand Province, Lieutenant Colonel Phimister will manage a team of dedicated Territorial Army doctors and nurses from Kings Heath 202 Field Hospital.

Their primary task will be to stabilise wounded soldiers so they can be flown back to Selly Oak Hospital.

And Lt Col Phimister will have to draw upon every minute of his five years experience as Chief Operating Officer at the George Elliot Hospital in Nuneaton as he manages the running of the field hospital from March until July.

Lt Col Phimister, who took a masters degree in health service management at Aston University, said: “This is really going to be my swansong with the TA.

“It will certainly be very different from civilian life especially with the heat.

“There will be the odd quiet time but there will be many instances when my doctors and nurses will be working flat out for up to 22 hours.

“Injured soldiers will be flown in to the base by helicopter and we will face a race against time to treat their wounds so they are well enough to fly to Selly Oak.

“We will be saving the lives and limbs of brave soldiers who are putting themselves on the line out there.”

The challenge ahead for Lt Col Phimister will be very different from his only other operational tour – during the war in Iraq in 2003.

Camp Bastion now boasts air-conditioned tents, coffee shops and gym and is the biggest military camp to be built since the Second World War.

Lt Col Phimister is married to his wife Lorraine, has two children and is expecting his first grandchild in the next few days. He said: “It came as a bit of a shock when we found out my final few months with the TA would be serving in Afghanistan. But I’m delighted to be going and I know we’ll all play our part.

“I think Lorraine will be worrying but she’s fully behind me.”

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Article Information

Title: Veteran Midland medic to lead team in Afghanistan
Author: Joseph Stein
Article Id: 9999
Date Added: 30th Jan 2009


Birmingham Mail

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