£87,410 Sellafield donation to help save lives in West Cumbria - BEEP Doctors Cumbria - Volunteer Emergency Doctors

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£87,410 Sellafield donation to help save lives in West Cumbria

October 7th, 2022

BEEP Doctors (BASICS) Cumbria has bought the two new 4×4 vehicles for use in West Cumbria following an £87,410 donation from Sellafield Ltd.

The Volvos – a S60 estate and a XC60 SUV – will be used in Allerdale and Copeland by doctors from the charity who provide enhanced pre-hospital emergency care and an extra level of medical intervention not normally available until a patient reaches hospital.

“The funding to buy these vehicles will make a huge difference to our team and to patients,” said Dr John Ferris, a BEEP doctor and an A&E consultant at Whitehaven’s West Cumberland Hospital.

“We have been attending emergencies in West Cumbria for many years, but to have two dedicated vehicles covering the area is enormous for the charity. It means we can respond to even more emergencies and save more lives.”

Cumbria’s team of 12 volunteer doctors are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They work closely with the police and fire services, North West Ambulance Service, Great North Air Ambulance Service and North West Air Ambulance.

At incidents BEEP Doctors can carry out some surgical procedures, such as inserting chest drains; some can perform pre-hospital anaesthetics; and all are able to administer drugs that most road crew paramedics cannot, such as ketamine/fentanyl to give pain relief and allow fracture manipulation.

Many of the emergencies they attend are road traffic collisions, as well as incidents involving farms, pushbikes, horses and water.

The closest major trauma centres to West Cumbria are Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Hospital and the Royal Preston Hospital – so providing enhanced medical care at the scene of an incident can stabilise patients quicker.

Until now BEEP doctors in West Cumbria had used their own vehicles to reach incidents. These had covert blue lights but people would not know they were emergency vehicles until the lights were switched on. The new vehicles funded by Sellafield are fully marked as emergency response vehicles, have ‘blues and twos’ and are branded with the BEEP Doctors’ logo.

“Potentially this means we can reach patients quicker because the vehicles are more visible to other drivers so we can make swifter progress,” said BEEP Doctors Cumbria chair Dr Theo Weston MBE.

“They are also going to be more reliable than our current vehicles because they are brand new and they have a massive boot space to carry our specialised kit, which includes advanced monitoring equipment such as ultrasound scanners.

“The marked vehicles can also be used at the roadside for defensive parking which boosts the safety of clinicians and patients.

“Overall, they will make it much easier to provide the vital interventions which patients would not normally receive until they reached hospital.”

Gary McKeating, Sellafield Ltd’s head of community and development, said: “The BEEP Doctors do amazing work in our communities and we are thrilled to be able to provide funding for the charity to purchase two new vehicles. Targeted support for services that enable crisis care for the local community is a key strand of our social impact programme and I’m proud that our funding will help the BEEP Doctors save even more lives across our region.”


If anyone would like to donate cash to BEEP Doctors, they can do so in a variety of ways, including by texting BEEP to 70085 to donate £2 or BEEP to 70450 to donate £10. More information is available on emailing info@beepdoctors.co.uk