The annual UIMC (International Union of Railway Medical Services) congress was hosted by Transport Sydney Trains and NSW Trains and their medical service from 8 to 11 October in Sydney. The congress was opened by Mr Howard Collins, CE of Sydney Trains and Mr Robert Mason, CE of NSW Trains, and by Dr Armand Casolin, Chief Health Officer of Sydney Trains and NSW trains and Dr Pierre-Albert Voumard, Chairman UIMC.
The UIMC General Assembly was held during the congress on 11 October 2013. Russian Railways (represented by their Vice-President Prof Oleg Atkov) and the medical service of Russian Railways (Russian Medical Society of Railway Transport) joined the UIMC Congress for the first time as members. Dr Alaudi from Saudi Railways Organisation (SRO) attended the congress presenting his application to join UIMC as Dr Manuel Fernandes from the WFEA Company, who is in charge of Eurotunnel. Both will be officially admitted by the next General Assembly because it requires a two-third majority of votes cast, which was not attained in Sydney. The PMA from Netherlands is excluded because of non payment of the annual fees. No delegate of the UIC was represented at this annual meeting.
During the Assembly, the members discussed the latest version of the UIMC Vademecum of criteria for medical aptitude. The document was drafted by Drs Alberga and Van Dijk, in accordance with the mandate given to them by the General Assembly and the Management Committee in 2011 and 2012. The document will be finalised after the next restricted meeting in Utrecht scheduled on 11 and 12 November collecting all comments sent by the UIMC members and it will be officially published in the UIMC’s three working languages during the course of 2014.
The UIMC Management Committee met on 8 October. A harbour cruise buffet dinner was offered by NSW Trains and Sydney Trains on 9 October.
The technical day on 10 October was dedicated to a visit to the South West rail link construction site and to the Katoomba Scenic Railway in the Blue Mountains.
The scientific congress provided members the opportunity of holding an in-depth discussion on relevant topics such as occupational and social medicine. The following presentations were delivered:
- History of railway development in Australia: Prof Ian Gray, Charles Sturt University
- National Health Standards for Health Assessment of rail safety workers (2nd Edition): Dr Armand Casolin, Chief Health Officer, NSW and Sydney Trains
- Health Coaching Programme: Facilitating behaviour change in rail safety critical workers: Ms Amanda Burke, Occupational Nurse, Sydney Trains’ Health Service
- Use of legal and illegal Drugs: Dr Pierre-Albert Voumard, Chief Medical Officer, SBB/CFF
- The activities of mobile consultation and diagnostic centres of JSC Russian Railways – Prof Oleg Atkov, Vice-President, Russian Railways
- European rail social partner project PSR Rail – Identify and prevent psychosocial risks within the Railway Sector – preliminary results: Dr Christian Gravert, Medical Director, DB AG
- Certification of medical fitness for work in railway medicine: Dr Milan Tucek, Medical Consultant, CZ
- Round up of one year of periodic psychological evaluation: The predictive value of the tests for train drivers’fitness: Dr Ludo Smeekend, Educational Psychologist, SNCB Group
- Norm ISO 26 000, general view: Dr Tariq Essaid, ONCF
The next meeting of the UIMC Management Committee will be held in Paris in April 2014.
The 2014 annual UIMC Scientific Congress and General Assembly will take place from 30 September – 3 October 2014 in Budapest, Hungary, at the invitation of MÁV railway company and of the Hungarian Railway Health Care Service.