The British Association for Immediate Care (BASICS) is the governing body for a national network of schemes that provide skilled medics in support the Emergency Medical Services. BASICS doctors have been working out in the community for over 50 years, long before the advent of the modern ambulance service and professional paramedic training. Fast forward to today and you'll find medical professionals from BASICS working seamlessly alongside their colleagues from the Ambulance Service, bringing advanced care to seriously ill and injured patients out on the community.

BASICS Doctors are experts in emergency care and usually work as hospital consultants or GPs. They receive additional training and equipment allow them bring their medical expertise out to patients. Whether it's a serious road accident, a cardiac arrest or sudden illness, BASICS doctors can be on called upon 24 hours a day to provide additional, expert help to ambulance crews when a patient's life is hanging in the balance.



Dorset's population of 745,00 is spread over 1025 sq. miles of fantastic countryside, towns and coastlines. On top of this we get an estimated 400,000 visitors every year. Sadly, our road network has a notorious reputation and journey times to our 3 emergency hospitals can be lengthy. The nearest Major Trauma Centres lie beyond our county borders, in Southampton and Bristol. Despite this, Dorset remained a conspicuous gap in national BASICS cover for many years, something that doctors had previously raised concerns over.


In 2016 a Dorset nurse was involved in a serious motorcycle accident just across the border in Somerset. His life was thankfully saved by a BASICS doctor from Taunton. During his recovery, he teamed up with a Dorset-based doctor and together they set about starting a BASICS service in our county. You can read the story here.

All BASICS medics in Dorset are volunteers who fit their BASICS shifts around work at the county's hospitals and GP practices. They use their own vehicles - fitted with blue lights and sirens - to reach patients whenever the call for help comes. At present, all our medics work under the governance of the Somerset Accident Volunteer Emergency Service (SAVES). BASICS Dorset is a supporting charity and not yet a BASICS scheme in it own right. We are currently the only driving force and funding source for BASICS medics in our county.

BASICS doctors carry out their on-call shifts from home or at immediate availability in the local area. They are controlled by dispatchers at South Western Ambulance service. They can be called-out at the request of an attending ambulance crew or if a sufficiently serious 999 call is received. They are also able to respond at short notice should a Major Incident be declared. BASICS Doctors often work together with other professionals and volunteers from the Emergency Services community - namely Fire & Rescue, Police, Air Ambulance and Coastguard.


Although their time is offered freely, it costs around £5,000 to train and equip each new BASICS doctor. This covers training to allow them to drive safely and quickly on "blue lights", the cost of fitting the car with lights and sirens, provision of medical equipment and uniform plus additional clinical training to bring out the best of their expertise in a pre-hospital environment.

© BASICS Dorset 2019

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