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Devon’s Volunteer Doctors take on new role in Covid-19 Pandemic

Devon’s volunteer emergency response doctors – BASICS Devon – have taken on a new life-saving role during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Although still on hand as first responders for road accidents and other life-threatening incidents, they are now working as part of a clinical triage team to help prioritise serious cases and identify potential cases of coronavirus infection.

The 13-strong team of pre-hospital care doctors, with more than 300 years of front-line clinical experience, is working alongside the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) staff to provide round-the-clock help in identifying patients who are seriously ill with the virus. This provides vital back-up to the hard-pressed ambulance teams, particularly in rural areas, so that the most serious cases can be identified and prioritised quickly and taken to hospital. This is saving lives across the county.

Many of the major incident skills of the BASICS (British Association for Immediate Care Schemes) team have already been used in the planning phase for the emergency response throughout Devon. The volunteer team have been issued with supplies of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect patients and themselves while carrying out their life-saving clinical work.

They continue to work very closely with their colleagues in the air ambulance service and other voluntary services such as Dartmoor Search and Rescue and the RNLI.

BASICS Devon volunteer Dr David Hillebrandt said,

“BASICS doctors are a unique group who are used to working as a team, are trained to tackle problems to make the most efficient use of resources in the community forming a vital bridge between General Practice, Hospital Care and the Ambulance service.

The BASICS charity is normally only known to the other emergency services and to some of the victims we treat. We operate below the radar but it is important that despite this current extension of our role we emerge from this crisis still able to offer our life saving service as before. These will be difficult times. We wish all our supporters well and the whole population of our responding area good health.”

Watch our short video from Dr David Hillebrandt supporting the Devon community from his own home.

To help BASICS Devon volunteers manage in this crisis, please visit our website at or contact our Fundraising Manager Amie Bull on 01752 936299 or email

For an interview with one of our volunteer doctors please contact Dr David Hillebrandt on 01409 253814 or

Notes to Editor

About BASICS Devon

· BASICS Devon is a network of 13 emergency volunteer doctors providing immediate access to specialist medical care at the scene of an accident or illness. Making themselves available around the clock throughout the year, responding to incidents at the request of the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust. The charity relies solely on donations.

· BASICS Devon doctors aim to provide a fast response to incidents in rural areas, and use their extensive skills to support patient care.

For further information, to donate or get involved please visit:

Contact Amie Bull, Fundraising Manager M: 01752 936299

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