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Crowd Doctor Guidelines

The RFU recognises and appreciates the support from doctors and other health professionals who provide assistance to clubs or events (often in the professional's own time and at their expense), and that this gesture contributes to the smooth running of many matches. Whilst encouraging doctors to participate in providing medical assistance at these events, we make the following recommendations regarding the issues that should be considered by clubs before engaging the services of a crowd doctor, and by doctors before undertaking such a role.


Guidelines for providing medical services at events are described in The Event Safety Guide and Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds(1). Guidelines are also published by the Health and Safety Executive(2). The Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds states that crowd doctors must be trained and experienced in immediate care. The British Medical Association also provides guidance to doctors providing support to sporting events and clubs(3).


The RFU recommends that doctors engaged as crowd doctors at rugby clubs or events should be experienced in dealing with emergencies in prehospital or emergency environments. As such, they should have completed a crowd coctor course such as that provided by the Faculty of Pre-Hospital Care(4), or a course in prehospital emergency care and a course in major incident management(5). Where they are in regular weekly attendance to crowds in excess of 2,000, ideally they should possess the Diploma in Immediate Medical Care(6).


In view of the potential risks in providing medical cover for large gatherings of spectators, it is essential that a crowd doctor has adequate medical indemnity insurance. The major medical indemnity insurers can provide their members with indemnity cover for this type of work. Doctors should discuss their activities with their defence organisation before the event. Staff working at events also face the possible risk of personal injury, such as from assault or needle stick injury. Doctors should therefore also ensure that they have adequate personal injury insurance, especially if they are working as independent contractors to a club or event organiser. 


  1. Guide to safety at sports grounds: 4th ed. London: Stationery Office, 1997. ISBN: 0113000952
  2. Health and Safety Executive. The event safety guide. London: Stationery Office, 1999. ISBN: 0717624536
  3. Doctor's assistance to sports clubs and sporting events (British Medical Association)
  4. Faculty of Pre-Hospital Care (RCSED)
  5. Major Incident Medical Management and Support (MIMMS)
  6. Diploma in Immediate Care (Dip IMC RCS Ed)