BASICS IN DORSET

Some say we're biased in thinking of our county as the greatest in the UK. Judging by the number of tourists we get, a lot of people agree with us. Dorset is mainly rural, with rolling hills to the north and west giving way to the world famous Jurassic Coast along the south and the bright lights of Bournemouth in the east.

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The county covers 1025 square miles and has population of around 750 000. Over half of these live in the urban area of Poole, Bournemouth and Christchurch. The rest live within the other major towns like Weymouth, Ferndown and Dorchester or out in more rural areas. Dorset is a popular holiday destination attracting several million visitors every year. The county has no motorways and only a few stretches of true dual carriageways.

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Dorset has three District General Hospitals which can receive emergency patients. Royal Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester is a regional trauma unit, as is Poole General Hospital. Royal Bournemouth Hospital has a PPCI facility to treat patients suffering cardiac infarctions (heart attacks). Seriously injured patients must be transported to the Major Trauma Centres at Southampton or Bristol. Journey times by road to these hospitals from many parts of the county are well over an hour.

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The county's emergency medical service is provided by South Western Ambulance Service although there is the occasional cross-over with South Central Ambulance in the vicinity of Ringwood and Christchurch. SWAST also run the local Community First Responder service. The county is served by one Air Ambulance which also covers neighbouring Somerset. Poole is the home of the RNLI which provides lifeboats and lifeguard cover along most of Dorset's 100 miles of coastline.

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BASICS has existed as national organisation since 1977. Parts of the network such as SAVES in Somerset have been operating since the 1960s. Despite the potential need, Dorset has remained a curious gap until 2018. In the summer of 2016, a nurse from Dorset was badly injured in a motorcycle accident in neighbouring Somerset. A BASICS doctor was fortunately on hand to save his life. You can read the story here. During his recovery, he contacted a doctor colleague and persuaded her to start a BASICS service in Dorset. BASICS Dorset was founded as a charitable organisation in 2017. In 2018, our first responder, SB05 logged on for duty. Since then we have answered nearly 300 callouts and treated over 200 patients out in the community. In February 2021 BASICS Dorset became a Registered Charity and was officially recognised as an independent, affiliated BASICS scheme.

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