Aspiring anesthetist is a Navy Fellow

Published on LEUT Ryan Zerbe (author and photographer)

Location(s): St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne

Topic(s): Training

Lieutenant Adam Scorer at St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, as part of the Australian Defence Force's Medical Specialists Program. (photo: LEUT Ryan Zerbe)
Lieutenant Adam Scorer at St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, as part of the Australian Defence Force's Medical Specialists Program.

Lieutenant Adam Scorer might be a Navy Doctor, but you’ll find him rendering care at Melbourne’s St Vincent’s Hospital as the Australian Defence Force’s capability to deploy medical specialists is enhanced through placements in civilian practices.

The Medical Specialist Program allows Medical Officers from across services, who have qualified to undertake specialist training, to work full-time in clinical placements at hospitals around Australia, giving them the experience they require to eventually become Fellows in their field.

The program currently includes six Navy members aspiring to become Fellows in emergency medicine, intensive care, anaesthetics, orthopaedic surgery, general surgery and psychiatry – fields that are extremely competitive for practitioners to enter.

While reservists have often provided these critical skills and augmented Navy’s health capability, the Medical Specialist Program is helping raise, train and sustain a stronger permanent deployable force.

Lieutenant Scorer has spent the past 11 months working in anaesthesia at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, gaining valuable experience in the Intensive Care Unit and helping him secure a highly sought-after position in accredited anaesthetic training next year. 

“Now that I have secured a position on an anaesthetic training program, I will spend the next five years completing my Fellowship in Anaesthesia in Melbourne, predominantly at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne and rotating through the Royal Women’s and Children’s Hospitals, Box Hill and Geelong,” he said. 

“I aim to complete a Trauma Fellowship in my final year.

“The Australian Defence Force needs skilled military anaesthetists to provide a modern surgical capability, whether that be lifesaving surgery for trauma sustained in the field or semi-elective procedures.

“Military anaesthetists also coordinate and execute aeromedical retrievals to keep people safe and comfortable in transit to medical facilities.”

Although Lieutenant Scorer has previously deployed as HMAS Perth’s Medical Officer on Operation MANITOU in 2016, he is looking forward to the opportunities being a permanent medical specialist can bring.

“Medical specialists can be deployed with short notice as part of humanitarian and disaster relief efforts in the Asia-Pacific region, including earthquakes and tsunamis, or in multinational health service roles on operations in the Middle East.”

Medical Specialist Program Manager Commander Craig Spinks said, that while Navy will always rely on specialist reservists to generate operational capacity, having more medical experts on a permanent basis provided multiple benefits.

“Activating a specialist medical capability in 48 to 72 hours to respond to a disaster event becomes easier with fully qualified experts serving in Navy full time,” he said.

“It also gives us greater scope to support mission planners for longer periods.

“Members of the program represent an excellent source of expertise in training junior medical officers and sailors.

“They also share military medical research and provide valuable input on equipment acquisitions and medical projects.

“It’s exciting to know that the full benefits of the Medical Specialist Program are still to come,” Commander Spinks said.