top of page

Emergency volunteer doctors launch rapid response vehicle

BASICS Devon, a network of volunteer doctors, who support the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust at emergency incidents have launched their very own rapid response vehicle to support their 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 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.

Dr Simon Scott-Hayward

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. This vehicle 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 their 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 their volunteers to reach remote communities with ease, safely and quickly, in all weather conditions and in most cases arrive before the ambulance.

Supporting rural communities means that they must reach isolated and vulnerable communities promptly when seconds count.

The ambulance service remains under pressure with activity levels increasing due to the pandemic and needs specialist support for the most critical patients.

Since January the volunteer doctors have responded to 415 call outs, 144 of which were at night, arriving first on the scene at 31% of them.

BASICS Devon volunteer Immediate Care Doctor and Chair, Dr Simon Scott Hayward said: ‘The doctors are all so pleased with the vehicle. It has already been put to good use with 31 shifts, responding to callouts across the county. With winter setting in, we are pleased to have a vehicle fit for purpose both practical and safe. It is also a platform for clinicians interested in pre-hospital care to attend as observers. The recent branding of the car we hope, reflects the community that we serve. We would like to thank our funders and everyone that helped to get the car on the road.’

Robert Bertram, Chief Executive of the County Air Ambulance HELP Appeal added:

“These volunteers are the unsung heroes of emergency care – giving up their free time to support their local ambulance service. This donation will ensure 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.”

Last year, BASICS Devon also secured £39,000 from the County Air Ambulance HELP Appeal’s annual grant of £250,000 given to the British Association of Immediate Care. It was used to equip members’ existing vehicles for an emergency role, such as the installation of CCTV technology and winter tyres. The funding also enabled one new doctor to join the scheme after their vehicles were equipped to reach emergency incidents. This has helped with callouts in the North Devon area enabling the scheme to reach more people in the community to save lives.

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. To donate or find out further information, please visit or call 0800 3898 999.

If you would like to donate to BASICS Devon or to find out more, please visit


Notes to Editor

About the County Air Ambulance HELP Appeal

  • The HELP Appeal aims to significantly increase the number of onsite hospital helipads at major trauma centres and A&E hospitals through its grant scheme which offers non-repayable grants to hospitals to help fund new helipads or upgrade existing helipads.

  • The HELP Appeal has funded 45 helipads, which have received almost 20,000 landings.

  • It has donated a total of £250,000 in life-saving funding to the British Association for Immediate Care every year since 2019.

  • The HELP Appeal relies solely on charitable donations and does not receive any government funding or money from the National Lottery.

  • You can follow the HELP Appeal on Twitter: @helipadHELP, Facebook or LinkedIn or visit the website:" or call 0800 3898 999 for more information.

  • For further information about the HELP Appeal, please contact Corienne Kilgannon, communications director, on 07470 226063 or by emailing

About BASICS Devon

  • BASICS Devon is a network of thirteen 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 T: 01752 936299

  • For further information please visit:

502 views0 comments


bottom of page