Bangor Mountain Medicine Project


Ysbyty Gwynedd Emergency Department is proud to host

the Bangor Mountain Medicine Project:

a unique partnership between the Emergency Department,

local mountain rescue teams, NWMRA & our SAR Helicopter colleagues.


Every patient who arrives at Ysbyty Gwynedd  (or who would have had they not been taken direct to MTC or PPCI regional unit) following contact with MRT and/or SAR Helicopter is entered onto the Mountain Medicine Database. 

With over 1400 casualties entered (it goes back to 2004) this is believed to be the largest database of mountain casualties containing hospital diagnosis in the world: most others stop at the field diagnosis made

by rescuers.


Every mountain casualty brought to YG ED generates a feedback form for the MRT/SAR - our pre-hospital partners in mountain casualty care.

This consultant-provided case-by-case feedback system is unique, but Mountain Rescue England and Wales (MREW) are considering whether it can be rolled out nationally.

more soon...


  1.     ED placements

YG ED regularly hosts visiting winchmen

and MRT first-aiders also benefit from ED experience.

  1.     Mountain Medicine Forum

The Mountain Medicine project hosts a periodic CPD meeting - “Hillside to Hospital” - for MRT, RAF, Welsh ambulance & hospital personnel

  1. SAR rear-crew medical training

The Director of the Mountain Medicine Project, Dr Linda Dykes (Consultant in EM at Bangor) has been involved in the medical training of SAR helicopter rear crew since 2009, helping to ensure that the latest research into epidemiology of mountain casualties in Snowdonia (see right) is fed directly back into the practical teaching of SAR personnel caring for these casualties.  


The Mountain Medicine database is a gold-mine of information and with is we are gradually contributing to the sparse evidence-base concerning UK mountain medicine.

For example, using the Ysbyty Gwynedd Mountain Medicine database,

we know:

  1. There is little or no scope to save any additional lives from trauma in the mountains of Snowdonia

  2. Cervical spine injuries in casualties found alive are remarkably rare

  3. Snowdonia is now a “suicide hotspot” according to the Welsh Assembly Government’s definition

The Mountain Medicine database is maintained by Dr Dykes with the assistance of her Clinical Fellows. Multiple analytical projects were undertaken by final-year medical students from Cardiff University during their MM Senior Clinical Projects till the closure of the SCP programme due to curriculum changes in early 2013: it resumed in 2017.


Bangor ED has been proud to host Cardiff University’s most popular final-year Student Selected Component (SSC) since 2005. More than 30 students enjoyed this unique programme and many have gained their first publications in the form of conference posters and Free Papers.

However, all good things come to an end and with the changes to the Cardiff University medical curriculum, the final-year SSCs are no more. Our 2012/3 Block 3 Mountain Medicine student were the last until summer 2017, when we welcomed an end-of-fourth-year SSC for just one block per year.

Whilst we are very sad - we have loved having students, and some have come back to us as junior doctors (indeed, one returned to us as an F2, then a Clinical Fellow, and then an ST4 and consultant) - this gives us opportunities, too. For the past 7 years we have been unable to accept visiting medical students from other universities for 6 months each year, and with the demise of the Cardiff final-year SSC, we will be able to host more visitors.

So, let’s raise a glass to the phenomenal success of the Cardiff Mountain Medicine SSC and all those fantastic students we have had the pleasure of hosting over the years.