Let's Discuss Your Project

Health Service Planning for 2012 Olympic Games



To undertake a systematic review of the literature relating to medical care provision in previous Olympic and Paralympic Games and other major sporting events.


The London 2012 Games will be held between 27 July and 12 August (Olympic Games) and 29 August and 9 September (Paralympic Games). Provision of quality medical care for the Olympic Family (athletes, officials, staff and volunteers) and the hundreds of thousands of spectators expected to attend the games presents a special challenge and will require adequate planning. This literature review aims to provide a platform for the London Organising Committee to build on in planning for the Games. The review has drawn on data and information from previous three Olympic and Paralympic Games, those held in Atlanta, Sydney and Athens.


The evidence for this review was identified through key word searches on bibliographic databases, namely the Medline and PubMed databases. Free text search using Google was carried out to extend the search. Search terms used were “emergency services/mass gatherings” “mass gathering/Olympic” “medical care planning” “patient presentation rate” “hospital/polyclinic”. Further references were identified by a cascade method from sources found. The studies included in this review were published in English. 


The review examined details of planning for mass gathering events and methods of delivery of specific medical services to athletes and spectators during major sporting events. The review identified eight major elements that should be considered when planning for medical provision at any mass gathering. These are attendance/patient presentation, service usage, staff/personnel, medical care and facilities, triage, communication, transportation, medical records and data collection. 


The operational aspects of emergency medical care preparedness are described from both the Atlanta and Sydney Games. This review focuses on identifying the level and types of care required to deliver quality medical care. The main themes that emerged from the review of the Atlanta and Sydney Games were the importance of developing an effective communication system and uniform operational plans well in advance of the Games, of early sourcing and appropriate training of volunteers and of identifying and designing appropriate documentation methods for medical encounters.


For more information about our work or if you would like to speak to a member of the PHAST Team contact us.

Sign up for PHAST News & Views