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Updated: Oct 22, 2018

BASICS Devon a small local charity is thrilled to announce that we have been successful in receiving a grant of £9,888 from the National Lottery Awards for All.

The project that the Big Lottery will fund made possible by the National Lottery players is Rural Emergency Medical Responders which will enable two additional professional medics to now volunteer and respond in Devon to help save local lives.

BASICS Devon is a network of 12 emergency volunteer doctors who provide immediate access to specialist medical care at the scene of an accident or illness. They make themselves available around the clock throughout the year, responding to incidents at the request of the South West Ambulance Service NHS Trust. BASICS Devon receive no government funding and rely solely on donations.

Our project Rural Responders, developed through the need of our local community. With an increase of more than 30% in emergency call outs and the departure of our North Devon responder after 31 years, it created an immediate need for new volunteers. Having additional responders will benefit our local rural community greatly, as our doctors cover a population of 1.1 million across Devon, one of the most rural counties in the country.

Dr Tom Owens, born in Devon and trained at the Peninsula Medical School in Exeter, is a GP Partner at the Mid Devon Medical Practice in Witheridge and is one of our new responders that the Big Lottery Fund will help and this was his reaction to the amazing news.

“My interest in Pre-hospital Medicine was peaked due to the rural locality of my GP Surgery and the desire to be able to provide timely and appropriate care whilst arranging transport to hospital for patients. This developed into the desire to be able to respond with, support and learn from my paramedic colleagues who provide a fantastic service to their patients, sometimes in the most difficult circumstances.”

“When I heard about the award of funding for BASICS Devon I was excited that there would be additional support to provide further training and equipment that would help me to be able to offer pre-hospital care beyond my usual role both overnight and at weekends.”

Our doctors live in rural areas uniquely placed to best support their remote communities. Some are close to accident black spots. They are also educators, teaching vital life-saving skills to other emergency carers. Thanks to the Big Lottery Fund our new responders will provide immediate access to specialist medical care and also enable local people to gain training in otherwise isolated areas. They will build bonds with their own close catchment areas to educate and deliver medical support to groups such as Young Farmers, Scouts and Guides. Our current responders have strong relationships in their practising areas and deliver frequent training. We host an annual BASICS Southwest complimentary study day aimed at any interested emergency personnel which is coming up in the New Year. It is a fantastic opportunity to train with colleagues from other local emergency services, to help enhance their skills but mostly to build on working relationships. All details of our study day will be available on our website.

Amie Bull Fundraising Manager for BASICS Devon commented “I could not believe it when we received the decision letter. I cannot put into words the difference this will make to our local community. The doctors volunteer as well as work full time and are so dedicated to this cause. All of us at BASICS Devon want to say a huge thank you to the Big Lottery Fund and the National Lottery players and are so excited to show them the progress of the project and the impact it will make.”

Our responders help to save lives to try and reduce mortality rates in Devon. They are often first on the scene be it at the roadside, in a field, on a farm or a home emergency. 80 of the 315 call outs in 2017 were cardiac arrests which need immediate medical help, therefore having rural responders with instant access to defibrillators and kit increases their chances of survival significantly.

Now thanks to funding from the Big Lottery Fund these two volunteers can access equipment and complete enhanced training to be fully equipped and prepared physically and mentally. The doctors respond in their own vehicles, being on the ground is critical especially if the local air ambulance is unable to fly. The medical grab bag and equipment they use must always be to hand, having vital pieces of equipment enhances the care they can give.

The other new responder that will benefit from this funding is Emergency Medical Consultant Clare Bosanko, she is thrilled to join BASICS Devon and added “I have worked with the ambulance service to provide immediate care to ill and injured people ever since I was a medical student, and, having recently moved to Devon, it is my ambition to continue this work here. I work as an emergency medicine consultant and so have some advanced skills which can be used to help patients before they even reach hospital. As the mum of two boys, I would want my family to have access to immediate care as quickly as possible. It is a privilege to be able to volunteer for BASICS Devon; supporting the ambulance crews to give the best possible care to my local community.”

The first priority for our team of doctors and the motivation and dedication they have, is for the people in need in their local community, the patients they help and their loved ones, this grant is an incredible opportunity, all of us at BASICS Devon truly appreciate the support from the National Lottery players and are excited to begin the project.

We look forward to keeping our local supporters updated on Tom and Clare’s progress through Twitter, Facebook and our website.

Having this grant is incredible, but we still need ongoing support for our specialist medical volunteers to continue their mission. For further information, to donate or get involved please visit:

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