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New medical General Instructions raise the bar of racecourse medical care

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Press Release

Following a 12-month review, in consultation with jockeys and racecourses, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has today implemented new BHA General Instructions (BHAGIs) related to racecourse medical provision.

The enhanced BHAGIs are designed to assist racecourses in improving and updating many aspects of medical care for Jockeys including services such as ambulances, physiotherapy rooms and the medications/equipment available in jockeys’ medical rooms. The aim is to ensure that Racing remains at the forefront of medical care for its participants in what is a high-risk sporting environment.

The new BHAGIs, which have been written in the context of best-practice principles as outlined by the General Medical Council (GMC) come into effect from today across all British racecourses.

The key changes in a slimmed down document are:-

  • Annual risk assessment to allow courses to enhance minimum standards to reflect their particular individual circumstances, including course characteristics and geographical location.
  • Clarity regarding roles and responsibilities of medical staff with enhanced registration, training and disciplinary process.
  • Revised minimum equipment, drugs and facilities standards in line with current medical practice in pre-hospital trauma care.
  • Working towards all courses having dedicated Physiotherapy provision.

Dr Jerry Hill, Chief Medical Adviser to the BHA, said:

I would like to thank everyone who has participated in what has been a thorough and lengthy review of racecourse medical requirements, in particular the racecourses themselves and the jockeys."

I am determined in all of my work to ensure that jockeys are treated as the elite athletes that they are. Elite athletes require elite medical services, and that is what we ask that racecourses continue to work with the BHA, RCA, IJF and PJA to provide."

The new BHAGIs do not ask racecourses to revolutionise their medical services, but instead ensure that we keep raising the bar to ensure we are doing all we can as a sport to care for our participants."

In many cases the racecourses already comfortably met and indeed exceeded these requirements. This is how we would like all racecourses to approach the minimum requirements of the BHAGIs – not as targets but as minimum standards which they should aim to better.

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