This stabilises the patient much sooner than would otherwise be the case and therefore improves their chances of a better long-term outcome.
BEEP Doctors (BASICs) Cumbria is not funded by the NHS and is run by volunteers and an unpaid team of BEEP Doctors, however, we do sit under the CQC registration for North West ambulance service.
So, you may be wondering who calls the BEEP Doctors to mobilise and get to the scene of the accident?
Our journey towards helping patients starts with the 999 call. At this point a skilled emergency call handler identifies the location of the call, gathers information, assesses which resources are required and assigns a triage category (based on how urgently help is required) and begins dispatching the necessary teams. There are 3 main ways that these calls can trigger a response from a BEEP Doctor.
All calls are coded with the type of incident that is occurring (for example, a fall, road traffic accident or fire). Codes associated with high-risk incidents (e.g. road traffic accidents, unconscious patients, or serious incidents such as stabbings) will immediately alert all BEEP Doctors. This activates an alert on our doctor’s mobile phones, informing them of the location and details of the incident. This system ensures that patients get the best possible chance of receiving enhanced pre-hospital care as early as possible.
If our doctors are available and ready to respond they will then put on their emergency response suits, inform the control room that they will attend the incident and start travelling to scene – usually on blue lights and sirens! For situations requiring a major incident response (e.g. a major explosion or accident with multiple casualties), our doctors will still usually travel even if they are very far from the incident.
As the call handler gathers more information, that may identify incidents where enhanced care from a BEEP Doctor may improve patient outcomes. Examples of this include patients who have complex medical problems or who may require an anaesthetic or advanced trauma skills. You may have heard of the GoodSAM app which call handlers may use to improve their assessment of patients on scene and the resources they require. This app sends a message to the caller requesting permission to access their mobile phone camera so that the call handler can see real time images of the scene. If the caller agrees, this can provide invaluable information which can help ensure patients get the best possible care as soon as possible.
Once the call handler has identified the need for a BEEP Doctor, they can send out a mobile phone alert in a similar way to the immediate activation system or alternatively they can contact our BEEP Doctors via their mobile numbers or on their specialised emergency radios. All of our doctors carry a specialised radio given to them by the ambulance service which allows the control room to see where our doctors are and able to pass patient and incident details to them securely.
The third and final way that our BEEP Doctors can be activated is by crew request.
Once resources arrive on scene an expert in person assessment of the incident and patients on scene may reveal a situation where a BEEP Doctor could improve patient care. This may be anything from offering an extra pair of hands, assisting with decision making and leadership or performing advanced procedures such as pre-hospital emergency anaesthesia or surgical interventions. Where this is the case, the crews can radio to the control room and the control room can contact and dispatch a BEEP Doctor to scene.