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SAVES needs YOU! Wurzels charity concert for heroic Somerset doctors
3:28pm Thursday 17th October 2013 in News
HEROIC doctors who helped at the crash on the M5 near Taunton in 2011 which claimed seven lives hope a fundraising event featuring The Wurzels will be a sell-out.
Somerset Accident Voluntary Emergency Service (SAVES) feels most people are unaware of its existence even though it is now in its 42nd year – yet its three GP volunteers are poised to help seriously ill accident patients across the county, day and night.
The concert, grand dinner and auction at Somerset County Cricket Ground will be held days before the second anniversary of the M5 crash.
SAVES member James Hickman was the first doctor to arrive at the scene and helped the emergency services respond.
Last year, a SAVES doctor won the BBC 999 hero award for his work amputating part of an arm 20ft up a gantry near Taunton.
Last month, Taunton-born doctor Ed Ford was on hand after a motorcyclist was involved in a fatal collision with a van while overtaking a car on Exmoor.
Ed, a married father of two who trained at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, went to Minehead to work at Irnham Lodge surgery.
Ed told the News: “I think the appeal of it [SAVES] is that it’s about doing something that’s really rewarding and incredibly different to the day job.
“We are hugely stressed anyway in general practice but the jobs that we go to for SAVES we get a huge sense of reward and value from.
“It’s incredibly enjoyable working with the paramedics and the police, and the ambulance service is incredibly supportive.”
He added: “In Minehead, it’s not all trauma. A lot of what we do, because we are quite remote, is medical – people with chest pain or taking a fall.
“Being local and having a 4x4 means that we get to places that sometimes ambulances aren’t able or available to get to, and so it’s a lot more effective for me to help them.”
Extra responsibility means extra training and lots of training hoops to jump through.
He added: “It’s a lot of work. The biggest problem we have is that the day job for most GPs is getting more and more stressful and more and more intense, and we can’t get GPs to feel they have the time to commit.
“There are doctors out there who are keen to do this sort of work but it’s about how we can support them to do that, understanding the pressure they’re under in their day jobs and practices.
“What’s more, pre-hospital care in the last ten years has moved forward so dramatically because of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which the military has developed.
“It has helicopters going out to the battle scenes with blood products and clotting bandages to treat people immediately.
“That may be a dramatic comparison but we are playing catch up. And, of course, all this extra equipment costs more money.”
Peter Andre, Jenson Button and Les Miserables theatre producer Sir Cameron McIntosh are among the big names who have given auction items for the grand night.
Fundraising is integral to the service’s ability to buy and replace equipment and train new doctors.
Ed added: “It costs between £4,000 and £5,000 to train and equip just one doctor and this is why we are again calling upon the generosity of Somerset people to support our fundraising evening with The Wurzels.”
Tickets for the charity concert for SAVES on Friday, November 1, from 7.30pm are £45 at www.saves.org.uk or from Jackie Collings on 07886-630388.
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