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  • Writer's pictureBASICS Dorset


A new emergency doctor service is now operating in Dorset, providing life-saving enhanced care to patients in the county. BASICS Dorset is part of a national network of volunteer medics who specialise in pre-hospital emergency medicine. When not working in hospitals or GP practices, these senior doctors can be called out by the ambulance service to provide vital treatment to the sickest patients at the scene of serious accidents or sudden critical illness.

BASICS doctors are trained in advanced life support and emergency trauma surgery. They are licensed to carry stronger medicines than those used by ambulance crews. This includes powerful painkillers and sedatives to relieve suffering caused by traumatic injuries. As senior doctors, they bring years of clinical experience and leadership directly to where it matters most for critically ill patients. When logged on for duty they respond from home, day or night in any weather, using their own personal cars fitted with blue lights and sirens.

BASICS Dorset was founded in 2017 by a doctor from Bournemouth. A nurse colleague from Dorset had been critically injured the previous summer in a motorcycle crash in Somerset. The accident happened at night in thick fog on a rural road. A BASICS doctor from Somerset Accident Volunteer Emergency Service (SAVES) was called out. They performed emergency surgery at the scene, which saved the nurses life. At the time no such service was running in Dorset. Had the accident happened closer to home, the outcome would probably have been a lot worse.

Our first medic logged on for duty in East Dorset in June 2018, working initially as an outreach of the Somerset network. After a successful and challenging development period, last month we achieved both Registered Charity status and affiliation as a BASICS scheme with the national organisation. Since our first callout we have answered 290 emergency callouts out from South Western Ambulance Service and treated 230 patients. We also run training sessions for local pre-hospital clinicians to help improve emergency patient care across the county.

The British Association for Immediate Care Schemes (BASICS) was founded in 1977 as a national network for local emergency doctor services that had been running for a decade or so in some counties. BASICS pre-dates the modern paramedic-led ambulance service and was one of the driving forces behind the development of advanced training for emergency crews. Today, BASICS sets the standards for and provides training in pre-hospital emergency care.

Although our doctors are volunteers, we rely on public donations to provide additional equipment, training, and vehicles to enable them to carry out their life-saving work. We have had some great support from local individuals, companies, and charities to get us this far. It costs around £10,000 to train and equip a BASICS doctor ready for emergency duties. We receive no government funding for our work and rely on public support to develop and continue the service. Anyone interested in finding our more or supporting our work can do so at or by email:

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