In a first, an ADF medical team was embedded in the Role 3 medical facility at Iraq’s Baghdad Diplomatic Support Centre (BDSC) in November last year.
The ADF team includes three full-time specialists from Defence’s Medical Specialist Program, established in 2014.
Senior surgeon, Navy’s Captain Ian Young, said the team's deployment followed two ADF medical officers who had previously deployed to the BDSC on individual placements.
“Neurosurgeon Major General Jeffrey Rosenfeld and intensive care physician Colonel Su Winter conducted individual placements to the Role 3,” Captain Young said.
“Their efforts have very much set the scene for our team and those who will come after us.”
The BDSC embed provides an operational experience working with multinational medical personnel.
Neurosurgeon Major Paul Smith, who recently commissioned into the Army, said the deployment offered medical officers an opportunity for professional growth.
“Baghdad is my first operational deployment outside Australia and I can honestly say the experience is incredible, professionally,” Major Smith said.
Perioperative nurse Navy’s Lieutenant Commander Anna Kane, who had operational experience in Afghanistan in 2014, said the Baghdad placement had put her out of her comfort zones.
“I have been in the role of officer-in-charge of the operating room many times previously, but this time, I am in more of an administrative role in support of our mission,” Lieutenant Commander Kane said.
“This deployment has developed my leadership, communication and diplomacy skills and the duration of this deployment will ensure these skills continue to improve.”
The ADF’s BDSC team comprises orthopaedic surgeon Captain Ian Young from Navy, Army general surgeon Major Kyle Bender and anaesthetist Major Adam Mahoney from the Medical Specialist Program, along with Army neurosurgeon Major Paul Smith, and perioperative nurses Lieutenant Commander Anna Kane and Captain Rachel Gillies.
The doctors will be deployed for three-and-a-half months, while the nurses’ deployment is five months.
There will be four rotations of medical specialists and three rotations of nurses over the next 12 months.