Somerset Accident Voluntary Emergency Service
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SAVES is a registered charity that provides a network of five volunteer doctors to support the ambulance service in Somerset and the surrounding area. The doctors have specialised training in the emergency management of trauma and medical conditions in a pre-hospital environment and respond to incidents at the request of the ambulance service in their own cars, which are equipped with blue lights and sirens. The volunteer 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. We rely on donations and desperately looking to train and equip more volunteer doctors to help cover Somerset's vast countryside. To train and equip just one doctor costs around £16,000! Whilst paramedics and ambulance crews are highly trained, our volunteer doctors bring enhanced care to the patient. This may involve advanced assessment of the patient, specialised analgesia and sedation, and pre-hospital surgical procedures. In 2021, our team responded to 172 emergency incidents at the request of ambulance crews and the ambulance dispatchers - with the majority of our callouts being road traffic collisions, cardiac arrests, and other life-threatening, critically ill patients. Our volunteer doctors are also "tactical medical advisors" - a role that assists ambulance commanders with medical advice and support at major incidents, such as the tragic M5 bonfire night accident.
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.
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.