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Funding boost means Devon patients won’t be left out in the dark this winter

Dr Simon Scott-Hayward

Emergency volunteer doctors working to keep people in Devon safe are ready for the winter months after funding has allowed them to purchase specialist head torches to carry out vital, and often lifesaving, procedures.

BASICS Devon, which provides pre-hospital emergency medical care through its network of volunteer emergency doctors, has purchased the equipment after receiving £5,000 from Wales & West Utilities Safe & Warm Fund.

With a network of 14 volunteer doctors responding to medical emergencies across the county, the winter months can be challenging due to the dark nights, so the torches have arrived at just the right time.

Dr Angus Macdonald, Dr Fred Declerck, Dr Marc Epps, Dr Lauren Weekes, Dr David Hillebrandt, Dr Thomas Owens, Dr Ian Higginson, Dr Simon Fairclough Centre:  Dr Simon Scott-Hayward

Dr Ian Higginson, BASICS Devon Volunteer Immediate Care Doctor, explains:

“Operating in the dark can be extremely challenging – we have to locate patients and assess the scene before treating them.  Having good lighting, which doesn’t run out of charge quickly, and which works well in the cold and the rain, is essential. 

“Due to Covid-19 our usual fundraising activity is reduced and so, this support from Wales & West Utilities has been vital.

“Purchasing this sort of kit keeps everyone safer and helps us do our work better.  We are really appreciative of the support which has allowed us to buy these torches.”

BASICS doctors are senior decision makers who carry enhanced pain relief, equipment and can undertake specialist surgical procedures at the scene, which can help lessen the chance of long-term disability.  

The volunteers work by responding locally across their communities, whilst also helping to reduce the feeling of remoteness for patients and are an additional source of reassurance and expertise for the emergency services.

Ian continued: “Our network of volunteers is growing, and this money will help towards the responder’s support costs.  It’s also being used for education and training to help doctors keep up to date in all aspects of pre-hospital emergency medicine, whilst also helping them to train others in their local community. “During this time of Covid-19, this additional local support has never been more valued or relevant. On behalf of the organisation, and those that benefit from BASICS Devon, I’d like to thank Wales & West Utilities for this support.”

Wales & West Utilities Chief Executive, Graham Edwards, added:

“The Safe and Warm Fund was designed to directly help those working in communities, targeting support at those who need it most.

“We are delighted that the fund will now support so many organisations across our operating area, who like BASICS Devon, are helping local communities respond to Coronavirus. 

“Seeing communities come together to face the challenge of Coronavirus has been fantastic – and everyone at Wales & West Utilities is excited to see these projects come to life and how they will make a positive impact on the lives of people most in need.”

Wales & West Utilities set up the Safe and Warm Fund to help organisations and charities directly respond to the Coronavirus pandemic. The gas emergency and pipeline service has been working hard throughout the pandemic to make sure people are kept safe and warm in their homes and opened the fund to help others in communities across Wales and the south west of England do the same.

If you would like to make a donation to BASICS Devon or to find out more please visit


Picture caption:

Volunteer emergency doctors at BASICS Devon have purchased emergency equipment after receiving £5,000 from Wales & West Utilities Safe & Warm Fund

Group shot: L-R : Dr Angus Macdonald, Dr Fred Declerck, Dr Marc Epps, Dr Lauren Weekes, Dr David Hillebrandt, Dr Thomas Owens, Dr Ian Higginson, Dr Simon Fairclough 

Centre:  Dr Simon Scott-Hayward

Crouching photo:  Dr Simon Scott-Hayward

Notes to Editor

About BASICS Devon

BASICS Devon is a network of 14 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:

With thanks to Nicola Jenkins

Director at Create Communication

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