Medical Battalions are units that come under the Army Medical Corps. This article will explain what they are, their duties, etc. to help people understand what a medical battalion is if they’re planning to join Pakistan Army as a Doctor.
Structure of a Medical Battalion
A medical battalion has almost the same command structure as all other battalions (or units) in Army.
However, it’s commanded by a non-specialist doctor of rank lieutenant colonel. The 2ic is also a non-specialist doctor with rank of major.
All other doctors in it are either captain or major. They don’t have any specific appointment or office and are there to be utilised for medical covers.
Is every officer in medical battalion doctor?
No. Usually the Quarter Master is not a doctor. They usually come from other arms, usually on compassionate basis.
Where do the doctors who don’t have office or appointment spend their time in unit?
It’s a great question.
What are the duties of Medical Battalion
Medical battalions are responsible for medical covers. There are two types of them:
- Local medical covers
- Attachment covers
- Medical camps or setups
For local covers, the doctor is sent from the unit to the covers with ambulance and nursing and he comes back when he gets free. E.g. for swimming competitions, polo matches, physical examination tests, helipad covers, etc.
For attachment covers, the doctor is attached as part of other non-medical battalion units like infantry units, who are usually away from the station. He remains with them until there is relief available. Can be anywhere from 1 month to over an year or more.
E.g. if a person is posted to Peshawar, he can be sent on cover to any operational area, which might be hundreds of miles away.
The family of the doctor remains at home station as usually the areas where he is sent on attachment are not family stations.
Which army vehicles does a medical battalion have?
Ambulances, a lot of them. And trucks.
There is usually only 1 adm jeep which is used by the commanding officer only usually. Another single or double cabin is available too, used mainly by 2ic.
All other doctors in the medical battalion use ambulances only. Rarely the double cabin can be availed too if available.
Do medical battalions fight?
No. They’re not offensive or defensive units. They’re medical cover units.
Who gets posted to medical battalion?
All doctors who have done their housejob are posted to medical battalions. Those who have completed their fcps training are also sent to medical battalions until they pass their part-2 exam.
Those who pass part-1 exam have to remain in medical battalion too until their turn for training comes.
Duty timings in Medical Battalion
Official duty timing is same as all other government office duty timings. However practically that’s not applicable due to reasons like:
- Usually all doctors have to stay in unit until commanding officer goes home even after duty timings, which is variable
- There is no timing for medical covers, you have to stay at cover even till night if needed, or for days
Do Medical Battalion provide pick and drop to doctors?
No they don’t. It’s a myth that army officers get pick and drop in official vehicle. It’s true for lieutenant colonel and above in most cases, but for captains and majors, it’s not allowed. Especially not practically done for doctors in CMH or medical battalion.