Medical Assistant (Royal Navy)

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The Medical Assistant is a Royal Navy medical rating in the United Kingdom. Medical Assistants serve on all types of ships in the surface and submarine fleet, or ashore in a sick bay, hospital, or other establishment. The equivalent rate in the United States Navy is Hospital Corpsman.

The Medical Assistant was previously known as Sick Berth Attendant (19th-20th century) and earlier as Loblolly boy (18th–19th century).

Basic training (10 weeks) is conducted at HMS Raleigh shore establishment in Torpoint, Cornwall. Medical training (39 weeks) is conducted at the Defence Medical Services Training Group at Whittington Barracks in Lichfield . A section of this includes 6 weeks of primary care placements at a Medical Centre and 12 weeks secondary care clinical placements at a Ministry of Defence Hospital Unit (MDHU). The final phase is then concluded by a consolidation period of training (12 weeks) on board a ship or shore establishment sick bay in the.

Royal Navy Medical Assistants who volunteer for service with the Royal Marines must pass the All Arms Commando Course (9-weeks) held at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM) in Lympstone, Devon. In addition to this the Pre-All Arms Commando Course (4 weeks, Commando Logistics Regiment) must be taken to ensure candidtaes are suitable, selected and prepared prior to the All Arms Commando Course. The MA branch is also open to Royal Marines and are designated as Royal Marine Medical Assistant (RMMA).

Those (Commando trained or Royal Marine Commando only)who have completed at least two operational tours and have passed the arduous Black Serpent course can be selected to provide medical support to UK Special Forces for either the Special Air Service (SAS) or the Special Boat Service (SBS). This predominantly provides a supportive role for UKSF, as the UKSF maintain their own operators that are SF medics.

Those who volunteer for Service in the Submarine Service undertake Radiation Protection and Nuclear Chemistry training at The Defence College of Management and Technology, HMS Sultan in Gosport and also Atmosphere Monitoring training at The Institute of Naval Medicine in Alverstoke. On completion of this training, Medical Assistant Submariners, MA(SM)'s are awarded a City and Guilds Certificate in Radiation Protection and optional membership of the Guild of Radiation Workers.

Other additional specialisatons open to the MA Cadre are, Pharmacy Technician and Operating Department Practitioner which are civillian accredited.

Medical Assistants are colloquially known as "Scablifters" or "Doc" in Royal Naval JackSpeak.

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