The History of SARS

drken.png (244×279)Origins of Immediate Care

The growth of pre-hospital or Immediate Care is generally attributed to Dr Kenneth Easton of Catterick in North Yorkshire. As a GP in Catterick from the 1940s he was acutely aware of the problems encountered when medical emergencies occurred in locations miles away from the nearest hospital. With the main A1 trunk road on his patch, he witnessed unnecessary deaths amongst victims of road traffic collisions due to a lack of immediate medical aid.

He campaigned throughout the 1950s for better support to be made available to the statutory emergency services and for the recognition of the part which could be played by a medical practitioner rendering medical aid at the scene of incidents. He soon realised that to achieve any progress it would have to come through voluntary effort. Dr Easton set up the first Immediate Care scheme in North Yorkshire in 1967. After the success of this scheme he began to encourage fellow GPs to set up similar schemes in their localities around the UK.

drgra.png (244×279)Origins of SARS

One of the first converts to Easton's philosophy was Dr Graham Bracewell, a GP practising in Wrentham who thought such a scheme would suit the rural environment of Suffolk. After several meetings with fellow GPs in Suffolk, statutory emergency services and local health authorities, the Suffolk Accident Rescue Service was formally launched on the 1st May 1972.

Since 1972, many thousands of patients have been treated by SARS volunteers and countless lives have been saved. So far our volunteers have attended nearly 17,000 incidents around Suffolk and the wider East of England region. This equates to just over one incident attended by a SARS doctor or paramedic for every day of the last 45 years!

All this has been achieved without charge to the patient, the ambulance service or the tax-payer and it has been funded by voluntary grants and donations from the local community.

SARS in 2018

In 2018, SARS provides highly experienced autonomous responders who are mobilised from their own home and work locations in and around Suffolk. In addition to this, SARS also provides a team response which currently operates once or twice a week covering key Suffolk locations. This team vehicle normally carries a doctor, a paramedic and an additional critical care specialist. These teams can and are mobilised anywhere across Suffolk and also can respond to life-threatening incidents in the adjoining counties of Essex, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.

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We receive no statutory funding

Our charity relies entirely on voluntary donations to fund equipment and training and help us offer the best possible service to the people of Suffolk and its surrounding areas.