Report by an English volunteer at the music festival in Malta.
On 18th July, St John Malta provided First Aid at the Isle of MTV Malta 2023, Europe’s biggest free music festival, featuring a lineup of international acts headlined by Grammy-nominated DJs. The team of our Maltese member was joined by two English volunteers who travelled to Valletta for the event.
Here is what Lewis Taylor from St John Ambulance reports:
“Earlier this month, I had the incredible opportunity courtesy of JOIN to visit Malta for a few days. The purpose of my trip was to assist with the Isle of MTV event, and I had the privilege of being hosted by St John Ambulance and St John Rescue Corps. These two organizations have recently merged to form a larger entity on the island, which is now encountering a multitude of new and intriguing challenges.
During my brief stay in Malta, St John Rescue Corps graciously hosted me and my fellow SJA volunteers at their headquarters. This unique locale happens to be a captivating fort constructed by the British in the 1800s, originally designed for the island’s defence the experience of staying there was nothing short of amazing.
In the limited time we spent in Malta, we were fortunate to explore the captivating historical cities, including both Mdina, the ancient capital, and Valletta, the contemporary capital. Valletta also held historical significance as the former residence of the Knights Hospitaller, also known as the Order of St. John, prior to their exile. A highlight of our visit was a trip to a museum dedicated to the Knights Hospitaller, which offered a fascinating glimpse into a chapter of history I was less familiar with, given that I hadn’t been a cadet and wasn’t familiar with the history of the order.
Comparing healthcare practices, I noticed striking differences between Malta and England. One notable divergence was the absence of paramedics in Malta, with such roles undertaken by other healthcare professionals and even first aiders. Moreover, the local emergency department played a pivotal role in supporting the on-ground teams, providing HCPs who had a distinctly different operational role compared to their counterparts in the UK.
One distinct aspect of St John’s presence on the island is the St John Rescue Corps. This unique organization functions as a hybrid between the voluntary fire service, the Coast Guard, and the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) in the UK. During the event, they assumed a role like that of our Medical Response Teams, handling crowd extraction and dealing with challenging situations. Their operations were further complicated by the fact that the festival coincided with a heatwave, and on the event day, the Rescue Corps was called upon by the local fire service to assist with a wildfire. This unexpected challenge required management to ensure that the event would be properly staffed with the right skill sets later in the day.
In conclusion, my time on the island was truly remarkable, and the individuals I met and collaborated with were not only brilliant but also passionate about the organization’s future. I’m optimistic that this experience marks the inception of a fruitful collaboration, and I eagerly look forward to the possibility of returning next year with additional volunteers.”