The Importance of an Effective Medical Emergency Response Plan for Offshore Operations.

Although rare, when a medical emergency occurs offshore, the ability to respond quickly and effectively can mean the difference between life and death. That’s why having a robust Medical Emergency Response Plan (MERP) is critical for all offshore worksites.

A MERP is a comprehensive plan which outlines the procedures, protocols, and resources needed to respond effectively to a medical emergency at an offshore worksite. The goal of a MERP is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of workers in the event of an emergency.

An effective MERP requires knowledge and expertise as well as careful consideration and attention to detail. Some of the key components of an effective MERP include:

Roles and Responsibilities: Key responsibilities of all stakeholders should be clearly outlined so that people are aware of what they need to do when an incident occurs.

Communication Protocols: Clear communication is essential during a medical emergency. The MERP should establish communication protocols, including who should be notified, how information should be shared, and the chain of command. The MERP should also include procedures for communicating with emergency services and medical facilities onshore.

Primary Retrieval and Secondary Evacuation Processes: The primary retrieval process details the movement of the patient from ship to shore. Secondary evacuation details the process from moving the patient from a designated place onshore to a medical facility that is equipped to handle the case.

Priority Levels for Evacuations: Patients will be triaged and prioritised depending on extent of injury or illness. The MERP will outline priority levels and the procedure for each.

Planned Evacuation Routes through to the Delivery of Definitive Care: It is vital to have planned and documented evacuation routes including medical facilities and their locations and capacity. In some emergencies, individuals will require specialised care that is not always available in local clinics or hospitals. Under these circumstances, secondary and tertiary level hospitals should be identified within the MERP that can fulfil this role.

Drills – Medical Emergency response plans should be drilled regularly in addition to testing emergency phone numbers and hospital contact numbers.

After Action Review – After a medical evacuation, it is important to evaluate the response to identify any areas from improvement.

EMS Assist has specialist expertise in producing site specific MERPs for locations globally. Our operations team work closely with clients to understand the worksite, location and local infrastructure and will develop a comprehensive and detailed plan to ensure that our client’s worksites are well prepared to respond to any medical emergency that might occur.

To hear more about our services and how we could support your operation please contact:


T: +44 191 537 1629

We would also love to hear from any medical professionals who would be interested in registering with EMS Assist for future opportunities – please get in touch at the following email address:

Thank you!

The EMS Team



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