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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS


Home > News > Infection prevention practitioner prepares for Afghanistan

Infection prevention practitioner prepares for Afghanistan

Posted on Friday 2nd December 2011

John Thompson

John Thompson, an Infection Prevention and Control Practitioner from the North West Ambulance Service, is currently on a six week secondment to the North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust in order to prepare for a three month post in Afghanistan with the British Armed Forces.

John was previously a soldier with the Armed Forces from 1983 until 1998 and has been deployed around the world, including to the Falklands and Iraq.

When John left the army, he decided to train as a paramedic because he has always had a strong interest in helping others. He moved up to Cumbria from Surrey in 2003 and became an Infection Prevention and Control Practitioner two years ago.

John has kept his link to the army by being a member of the Territorial Army for the past 13 years where he is a Major. With them, he has previously travelled to Iraq but his impending trip to Afghanistan in the New Year will be his first trip there and his first army trip as an Infection Prevention and Control Practitioner.

John said: “In Afghanistan, infection prevention is absolutely crucial. A lot of injuries are potentially prone to infection, as it is an inhospitable environment which causes many challenges to the British forces.

“I will be carrying out the Infection Prevention and Control role to ensure that the chain of infection is broken at the earliest opportunity where possible.”

John is using his six weeks working with Alex Galdins, Lead Infection Prevention and Control Nurse at the Cumberland Infirmary, to enhance his secondary care knowledge.

“Infection Prevention in hospitals differs from infection prevention in the ambulance service”, John said. “It is a different process in a hospital as you are not working from a mobile unit and you are dealing with greater numbers of people. I feel I can take what I’ve learned here and put it into practice when I go to Afghanistan in early 2012.”