Posted by: Benedict Lam20 JUN 2012
On Monday (18 June) I was given the chance to visit the Olympic and Paralympic polyclinic, learn about the services and examine the equipment ahead of the games.
The polyclinic is situated within the Athlete’s Village in the Olympic Park, so this area is not accessible by the general public. The village consists of many apartment blocks, where athletes, coaches and some Olympic personnel will stay during the games period.
The organisers expect about 200 athletes will be treated daily. The most common problems are likely to be musculoskeletal injuries (eg, sprains and strains), minor illnesses (eg, coughs and colds) and superficial trauma (eg, wounds and grazes).
The polyclinic will be open 24 hours a day (out-of-hours emergency services will be provided from 11pm until 7am).
I was able to see the various services that will be provided, including sports medicine, imaging, physical therapies, dentistry, optometry, podiatry, primary care services and, of course, an in-house pharmacy.
Unfortunately, the pharmacy looked rather empty when I visited but I’m sure it will look more like a “normal” pharmacy closer to the start of the games.
This pharmacy — and the other ones at different venues — will also be the co-ordinating points of medicines supply for the athlete and spectator medical facilities at the stadiums and training venues (see this article for further information).
All medicines in the polyclinic pharmacy will be supplied free of charge on a “London 2012 prescription pad”. Supplies of up to seven days could be made (or the nearest practical pack size).
There will also be a medicines information service provided in the pharmacy.
In the Olympic Park, two retail pharmacies will operate to serve the needs of spectators.
In the other departments, I saw demonstrations of some of the technology and machinery that will be used to treat athletes (see below).
After the games, the polyclinic will be taken over by the NHS (May 2013) and reopened as a healthcare facility for the new community coming to live in the village, and also for residents of Newham and neighbouring boroughs. It will include a full range of primary healthcare services, such as a GP surgery, pharmacy and dentistry.
For those of you who are curious about the athlete’s accomodation, have a look at the picture below for a sneak preview.