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Olympics to Feature 24-hour Medical Center for Athletes
June 18, 2012

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This year's Olympic athletes will have access to free healthcare of several varieties at what organizers are calling a "polyclinic."

The most common requests during previous Olympics have been for physiotherapy related to muscular strains and sprains, colds and other minor illness, and eye and dental care. Staff were quick to say, however, that they would treat "new" cases, not pre-existing conditions.

The Olympic Park medical center will be open 24 hours to athletes and their coaches and support staff. The Games run from July 27 to August 12, and medical center staff expect to see hundreds of people a day during that time.

On call round-the-clock will be a staff numbering in the several hundreds, with 500 volunteer doctors, nurses, and other specialists assisting other paid specialists and staff. The facilities will include state-of-the-art technology, including digital X-ray machines and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scan capabilities.

The clinic will also house the Games's drug-control facilities, although those will be accessible through a separate entrance.

The medical center cost 23 million pounds and was paid for through a combination of funds from the Olympic budget and Britain's taxpayer-funded National Health Service. The center will become a NHS clinic after the Games.

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