Volunteer lifesavers called out 200 in a year

Volunteer SARS critical care team - paramedic Daimon Wheddon, Dr Joanna Stevens, CCP Andy Bates

Volunteer SARS critical care team - paramedic Daimon Wheddon, Dr Joanna Stevens, CCP Andy Bates - Credit: SARS

A life-saving medical charity that has been around for nearly half a century has responded to nearly 200 incidents this year.

The Suffolk Accident Rescue Service (SARS), whose team of clinicians volunteer their time, celebrates its 49th anniversary this weekend.

SARS medical team responding to a serious road traffic collision

SARS medical team responding to a serious road traffic collision - Credit: SARS

The charity is reliant on fundraising as it receives no NHS or central government funding, but operations manager Ben Hall said thanks to the generosity of so many people around Suffolk they had come through the pandemic "largely unscathed".

SARS was also a recipient of the Covid-19 Emergency Needs Grant.

Mr Hall said: "After the last 12 months we are just very grateful to still be around. So many of our traditional fundraising events have not been possible and these have always been such a vital source of funds that support our work."

When the emergency medical charity was launched in 1972 it was run by local GPs, some of whom would keep their kit underneath examination couches in their consulting rooms ready to dash out to local emergencies at a minute's notice.


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This was before paramedics and fully-equipped ambulances existed and the aim then, as it is now, was to provide specialist immediate care to patients who might not otherwise survive before they reach hospital.

Modern-day SARS clinicians are a mixture of anaesthetists, consultants in emergency medicine, critical care paramedics, advanced critical care practitioners and nurses.

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Their broad mix of clinical skills are utilised to form critical care teams on SARS rapid response vehicles across Suffolk.

SARS autonomous responders CCP Liam Sagi (East Suffolk) and CCP Joe Dowsing (West Suffolk)

SARS autonomous responders CCP Liam Sagi (East Suffolk) and CCP Joe Dowsing (West Suffolk) - Credit: SARS

SARS also operates a network of autonomous responders who are mobilised from their own homes to provide local medical support at the scenes of serious and life-threatening incidents.

The service is offered on a voluntary basis and at no cost to the patients and is funded by voluntary donations and grants.

SARS is keen to keep adding clinicians to the team and develop it’s voluntary resources to help more patients.

To find out more about SARS visit the website.

To help fundraise to support their life-saving volunteers please send an email. 


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