Who Are We?
SAVES is a registered charity that provides a network of volunteer doctors to support the ambulance service in Somerset. The doctors have specialised training in the emergency management of trauma and medical conditions outside hospital. They respond to incidents at the request of ambulance control in their own cars, which are equipped with blue lights and sirens for those with ambulance approved driver training (and green lights for those who have not).
Most of our work is in helping casualties of road traffic collisions, especially those who are trapped and seriously injured. We are also called to give immediate medical care to people who have become critically ill through medical problems or trauma.
The doctors are available on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week and perform this role in addition to their "day jobs" which are predominantly in General Practice or Accident and Emergency. In addition to organising and supporting these doctors SAVES provides specialised equipment and training for this highly specialised role.
SAVES is one of a network of immediate care schemes across the UK which operate under the umbrella of the national organisation BASICS (The British Association for Immediate Care"). The Scheme meets BASICS criteria for quality and has been accredited by BASICS. In March 2010 SAVES became more closely linked with the other schemes serving the South West Peninsula in a federation of the four schemes known as "BASICS South West"
Why are we needed?
Ambulance technicians and paramedics are trained to extremely high standards and have a great deal of skill and experience in caring for patients from the time of injury or onset of acute medical problem to their arrival at hospital. SAVES Doctors can effectively bring hospital treatments to the patient and can take their care one step further. This may involve advanced assessment of the patient, specialised analgesia and anaesthesia, and surgical procedures.
The doctors also have an important role in scene management, and providing medical advice and support to the ambulance crews. Several of the doctors are accredited Medical Commanders with training to manage major incidents.
All doctors responding for SAVES are experienced General Practitioners or Hospital Doctors who have a special interest and advanced training in pre-hospital emergency care.
As a minimum all doctors are expected to have a Certificate in Pre-Hospital Emergency Care awarded by BASICS after training and examination. Many also hold more advanced qualifications such as the Diploma in Immediate Medical Care of the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh and other accredited certificates such as Pre-Hospital Paediatric Life Support and Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support Certificates.
Paramedics and Nurses who respond for the Ambulance Service are also eligible to join SAVES as associate members and participate in regular educational meetings and exercises.