Friday, 13 March 2009


Today I received an email from the Chief Exec of BASICS:

The Lords debate concerning the provision of pre-hospital care by the NHS scheduled for 2nd February was postponed due to the heavy snow fall in London on that day. This has now been rescheduled for Monday 23rd March at 1930 hours for 1 hour. The subject being debated is:

Viscount Falkland to ask Her Majesty's Government why the National Health Service does not provide doctors to treat critically injured and ill patients outside hospital anywhere in the United Kingdom except London.
It is possible to watch the debate live on line by going to:

Click on the Lords window and scroll down to the debate.

So, suddenly, the difficultlies around funding for prehospital care are going to be raised in the House of Lords!! I should go there, take as many of my fellow BASICS doctors and friends with, show our support for this debate; maybe even get our point of view across to those that can make a difference.

Then I started to wonder, surely this isn't the first time this has been discussed. So I had a little look, and found the following discussion in the House of Lords: On June 11th, 2008, the question of Specialist Emergency Trauma Response Teams was raised in the House. Near the end of what appears to be an hour's discussion of pre-hospital care, one of the Lords asked the Minister for Health:

"Just to clarify the Government's position, is the Minister saying that it is not acceptable that critical pre-hospital care should be dependent on volunteers?"

Whoa!! The Government thinks it is wrong for the care of trauma cictims to rely on BASICS doctors?? Result!! Erm, no. The answer, predictably for a Government Minister, was not a short one, but began with the following:

"Critical pre-hospital care is not dependent on volunteers, because any ambulance service or acute service will have a range of reactions to a major incident in its area. ..... Where necessary, teams of doctors will and should be called out to attend an incident to provide such care."

Sorry? Is that a "yes" or a no"? Those teams of doctors are the very volunteers that, according to the Minister for Health, critical pre-hospital care is not dependent upon.

So, I have very little faith that the debate at the end of March will provide any further answers.

A plea to all of you out there: write to your local MP. Get him to ask the question that was posed above. Let's get the Government to accept the fact that there is a problem with the lack of any central funding for doctors to attend critically injured people on the roadside. Thank you.


  1. I have recently been introduced to your blog by a good friend and fellow "sleepless" paramedic....

    I would like to add that, during my career with the LAS I have always been so thankful of the vision in orange that represents BASICS Doctors.... without BASICS.. our jobs would be that much more complicated and more prone to going pear shaped too!

    I have done some jobs with you in the past and would like to extend my thanks for everything you do....

  2. i suspect that the teams of doctors freferred to in the answer are the provision that A+E departments are supposed to make ... and in 4 or more years of A+E i've never seen or heard of a team without their own vehicle being called ... getting a BASICS doc or scooping and running is much more 'convenient'

  3. I agree, Martyn H. I used to go out on scene from my A&E department as a very junior doctor, and I knew nothing. My deparment is not allowed to send any doctors out from the hospital. In fact, the Government have now made the provision of Mobile Medical Teams to be the remit of the Ambulance Trusts...