Thanks to the HELP Appeal, BASICS Devon, a network of volunteer doctors, who support the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust at emergency incidents, has launched its very own rapid response vehicle to support its emergency responders across Devon.
BASICS Devon is one of a national network of 32 regional schemes across the UK, which operates under the umbrella of the British Association for Immediate Care. The new vehicle has been made possible after the group successfully bid for a total of £44,000 from a grant of £250,000, which is given to the association every year by the County Air Ambulance HELP Appeal – the only charity in the country dedicated to funding NHS hospital helipads.
The 4 x 4 Skoda Kodiaq, is now active across Devon, carrying volunteer doctors, to the scene of critically ill or injured patients in the community or at the roadside. The vehicle has hi-visibility and reflective markings; fitted with communication and navigation equipment; blue lights, sirens, and a dash cam, to ensure its volunteer doctors can drive safely to an emergency incident. It also provides the opportunity for education in pre-hospital medicine to other healthcare professionals.
This will be the first scheme response vehicle for BASICS Devon. Having its own emergency response vehicle to access critical, isolated, sick and injured patients will help to ease pain and suffering and save lives across one of the most rural counties in the country. It will enable the scheme’s volunteers to reach remote communities with ease, safely and quickly, in all weather conditions and in most cases arrive before the ambulance.
Robert Bertram, Chief Executive of the County Air Ambulance HELP Appeal, said, “These volunteers are the unsung heroes of emergency care – giving up their free time to support their local ambulance service. This donation ensures they have the highest standard of transport at their disposal to ensure they can treat patients quickly and safely, giving them the best possible chance of survival and recovery.”
The HELP Appeal was created 12 years ago by the County Air Ambulance Trust. It is the only charity in the country dedicated to funding NHS hospital helipads. To date it has funded over 40 helipads, which have received almost 20,000 landings, including at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth and the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. The HELP Appeal relies solely on charitable donations and does not receive any government funding or money from the National Lottery.