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Exertional Heat Illness

Volume 451: debated on Wednesday 1 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what procedures are in place to conduct inquiries following a non-fatal incident of exertional heat illness; and what the standard procedure is for the follow-up examination of soldiers surviving such an incident. (91725)

Medical investigations following a non-fatal incident of exertional heat illness (EHI) are carried out at the time of injury and then at the Institute for Naval Medicine (INM) after referral for treatment. In the instance of multiple casualties or fatalities, a board of inquiry (BOI) will be convened to investigate.

Heat illness casualties are reported, via the chain of command, to the single service medical directorates. In high risk environments, formal reporting systems for heat illness are introduced.

All personnel who have had a significant episode of EHI, more than one episode of EHI or required urgent admission to hospital with EHI are subsequently referred to the heat illness clinic at the INM for further investigation. Thereafter, personnel may return to their unit, sometimes with employability restrictions depending on the severity of their condition since after one episode of EHI there is an increased risk of further episodes for a variable period of time.