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Background, Aims and Method (in brief)

Image by Andy JohnstonBackground

  • Ebola outbreak west Africa 2014 threatened to overwhelm local capacity in affected countries.
  • Op GRITROCK was part of the UK government response in Sierra Leone.
  • Op GRITROCK included engineers, logistics, PPE trainers etc. along with their medical support units. In addition to, and separate from this medical support, a small Ebola treatment unit was built on a site shared with NGO Save the Children and Public Health England. This was staffed by DMS augmented by the Canadian Armed Forces
  • ETU reserved for affected healthcare workers and other international personnel


Infographic: Ricci Coughlan/DFID

  • Capture and explore the ethical issues tackled by medical military staff who deployed to the Ebola treatment unit. Improve preparation and training
    • Produce training materials for use on this and future humanitarian deployments
    • Improve understanding of the ethical issues facing medical military personnel deploying on purely humanitarian missions


  • 5 key informant interviews to develop topic guide
  • 20 interviews between March – August 2015 (shortest 40 mins, longest 208 mins)
  • Purposive sampling across three UK ‘groups’ defined by deployed role: doctors; nursing care; other related healthcare (e.g. Labs, mortuary, PPE monitors) • Semi-structured: perceptions before deployment, ethical challenges on deployment deployed, reflections subsequent to return
  • Audio recorded, transcribed verbatim • Independently coded (HD &SJ); data managed using Nvivo
Deployed Role Doctors Nursing/Healthcare Other HC Related
20 in total 7 6 7
Deployed all Oct-Dec 2014 Dec-March 2015 Apr-July
1 7 11 1