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Devon’s volunteer emergency response doctors - BASICS Devon - have taken on a new life-saving role during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Although still on hand as first responders for road accidents and other life-threatening incidents, they are now working as part of a clinical triage team to help prioritise serious cases and identify potential cases of coronavirus infection.

The 13-strong team of pre-hospital care doctors, with more than 300 years of front-line clinical experience, is working alongside the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) staff to provide round-the-clock help in identifying patients who are seriously ill with the virus. This provides vital back-up to the hard-pressed ambulance teams, particularly in rural areas, so that the most serious cases can be identified and prioritised quickly and taken to hospital. This is saving lives across the county.

Many of the major incident skills of the BASICS (British Association for Immediate Care Schemes) team have already been used in the planning phase for the emergency response throughout Devon. The volunteer team have been issued with supplies of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect patients and themselves while carrying out their life-saving clinical work.

They continue to work very closely with their colleagues in the air ambulance service and other voluntary services such as Dartmoor Search and Rescue and the RNLI.

BASICS Devon volunteer Dr David Hillebrandt said,

“BASICS doctors are a unique group who are used to working as a team, are trained to tackle problems to make the most efficient use of resources in the community forming a vital bridge between General Practice, Hospital Care and the Ambulance service.

The BASICS charity is normally only known to the other emergency services and to some of the victims we treat. We operate below the radar but it is important that despite this current extension of our role we emerge from this crisis still able to offer our life saving service as before. These will be difficult times. We wish all our supporters well and the whole population of our responding area good health.”


To help BASICS Devon volunteers manage in this crisis, please visit our website at or contact our Fundraising Manager Amie Bull on 01752 936299 or email

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