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Joint Army/HBDHB Exercise Starlight Avenger 2

Exercise Starlight Avenger 2 – Joint Army/HBDHB exercise

This week Hawke’s Bay Hospital is hosting a NZ Army Forward Surgical Team (FST) as part of a joint exercise involving the Army and Air Force personnel from New Zealand and soldiers from Australia.

As part of the exercise the NZ Army’s mobile surgical facility will be set up on the Omahu Road side of the Hawke’s Bay Hospital grounds. This unit will be transported by road to the Hospital grounds and will be able to operate within a short time after its arrival on Monday afternoon 23 January.

The FST is an austere, air portable, tented surgical and resuscitative facility complimented by a small intensive care ward and medium dependency unit. It has two trauma/resuscitation beds, an operating theatre, two high dependency beds and five medium dependency beds. In addition it has a limited diagnostic capability consisting of a Laboratory and X-ray facility.

The FST is designed to provide life and limb-saving surgery and medical care, and was most recently utilised in East Timor during 1999 and 2001. In recent years, the personnel associated with the FST have been deployed to East Timor, Bougainville, Solomon Is, Afghanistan, Iraq and Sumatra.

Exercise Starlight Avenger 2, is designed to practice the integration of Regular Force, Territorial Force and Civilian medical personnel in an operational support environment, and will be conducted in the Hastings/Taupo area during the period 21 January – 4 February 2006. It will incorporate a range of activities and provide scenario-based training opportunities for Army and Airforce medical staff. This may include simulated casualties who will be evacuated to the mobile surgical hospital by both air and road.

The surgical theatre at the Army hospital will be put through its paces as up to 20 Hawke’s Bay people who have been waiting for minor general surgery, will receive their surgery next week, in the Army hospital. Most of the planned surgery is excisions of lesions, which will be carried out under local and general anaesthetic. This surgery will be carried out on Saturday 28 January and Sunday 29 January by Defence Force specialist surgical personnel.

Army medical personnel staffing the mobile surgical hospital while in Hawke’s Bay comprise surgeons, anaesthetists, anaesthetic technicians, a radiographer, medical laboratory scientists, nursing staff, medics and logistics staff. On Friday 27 January many of the Army medical personnel will be working in Hawke’s Bay Hospital as part of the training exercise.

Media are invited to tour the mobile surgical hospital during their open day for DHB staff, health professionals and media on Friday 27 January between 10:00am & 2:00pm. PLEASE NOTE: this is NOT a public open day! END

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