Sunday, 4 September 2011

What's in a Name?

I am angry!  No, not really angry.  More frustrated than angry, to be honest.  I've been shouting at the TV for the last 30 minutes.  Fortunately, I like my TV too much to throw anything at it.

So, what programme has insensed me so much?  Well, MrsRRD and I sat down to watch "Emergency" with Angela Griffin.  This is an excellent programme, where the star of Waterloo Road follows the ambulance crews of the West Midlands, and does a damn good job of portraying the highs and lows of the work the crews do.

This evening's programme, recorded a few weeks ago, had good old Angela shadowing the CARE team as they went about their business.  The CARE team are a group of volunteer doctors, nurses and paramedics, who are called by the ambulance service to provide more advanced medical care to the victims of serious accidents and assaults, and to patients with severe, life threatening illness, at the roadside or in their own homes.  Sound familiar?  Yep, CARE is the West Midlands arm of BASICS, just like BASICS-London are the London group.  It's just that our name leaves nothing to the imagination, as to who we really are.

So, what great publicity for BASICS.  You'd have thought, wouldn't you?  But, despite the BASICS logo, and the word BASICS being visible on all of the team's jackets, BASICS wasn't mentioned.  Not even once.  So, folks, according to this programme, the CARE team are unique.  No-one else like them in the country.  All that possible publicity for BASICS, all gone to waste.  Not a dickey-bird.

Well, dear Constant Reader, you know who the BASICS team are.  There's probably one in your neighbourhood.  They may be called CARE, or MAGPAS, perhaps LIVES or SAVES, maybe even BEARS or NARS. But, whatever they are called, they are all BASICS doctors, nurses and paramedics.  They are sitting at home right now, probably thinking about tucking themselves in for the night, all knowing that their sleep may be interupted tonight, at 3am, when someone goes off the road, or is stabbed, or falls off a roof.

Remember us, and please, spread the word!


  1. Angela griffin just bugs me with her constant commentary through the programme!

  2. I must admit I was somewhat bemused by the fact that the marriage as it were between BASICS and CARE was not explained.

  3. Don't forget MARS!

  4. The saving grace is Dr Keogh from casualty did mention he volunteers for basics on an episode not too long ago ... Probably a faaaar bigger audience there!

  5. Mr & Mrs RRD,

    I'm sorry to hear that our television debut made you so frustrated...

    The CARE Team IS a BASICS Scheme - and very, very proud to be so!

    The Chairman of our board of Trustees is also the chair of BASICS and several of our other members are actively involved with the association at a national level. In addition everyone that works with the CARE team is a full member of BASICS.

    We're not the only scheme in this area by any means, we overlap with MARS & North Staffordshire BASICS and our patch borders many more schemes... Indeed, many of our Doctors and Nurses also 'solo' respond for them.

    The 'Unique' element crept in because (I believe) we're the only scheme that deploys in the way we do, as team consisting of Doctor, Nurse & Paramedic on regular shifts operated by (but not paid for by) the ambulance service... we don't operate from home.

    Like the other BASICS Schemes, all of our Doctors and Nurses are Professional Volunteers and like other schemes we devote our time to patient care and training - leaving very little time for publicity (and none at all to attend the editing of a TV series)...

    One of the big problems we face (and I can't imagine any other BASICS scheme has escaped this) is that schemes like ours can take some explaining to the lay public: The producers were very much onside, but the editing process and the narration happened after the filming, so we weren't in a position to spot the omission and correct it.

    In their defence, the producers had to come to terms with BASICS, MARS, CFR, ISO, EOC, ICD, FCP, ENP, Para, Tech, Advanced Para, Immediate Care and Consultant Nurses, solo responders, etc, etc - it's hardly surprising they missed this... they did identify two of our team members as being BASICS personnel in other episodes later in the series though...

    I hope the programme didn't give the impression we were anything other than dedicated, caring healthcare professionals - donating our time free of charge for the benefit of the public -in the same way that every other BASICS scheme in the country does, day in day out...

    I'm sorry I missed the opportunity to promote the wider association - if I get the opportunity to set the record straight in future programmes, I'll happily do so.

    Paul Slater
    Ops manager (& Team nurse)
    West Midlands CARE Team

  6. Oh dear!!
    Welcome, Care Team, and thank you for your comment. I did not in any way want to suggest that you should not be getting all the publicity you can. My frustration came about because, in the programme, the unique nature of your work came across as being the fact that you were a group of volunteers attending the scenes of accidents / illness, not the fact that you are a team of doctor / nurse / paramedic.
    I'm just miffed because you got all the publicity AND I WANT SOME!!!
    Hope you continue to read my blog, and are not too put off by this post.