Our outreach car continues to be a visible presence in and around the East Dorset area, operating 12 hours a day (10.00am- 10.00pm), seven days a week.

Last year, our outreach car attended a total of 874 incidents and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic it has remained 100 per cent operational. This is a remarkable achievement and demonstrates the reliability and absolute commitment of our team, whose passion for saving lives is undoubtable. Our thanks go to them for all their hard work.

The outreach car is an additional resource to the helicopter and road-based critical care service that we provide to the people of Dorset and Somerset. The Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) desk, based at ambulance control in Exeter, can utilise and deploy the outreach car if they determine the need for an enhanced care response to support patients. Local ambulance crews also know that this additional clinical support is available to them and can ask for its assistance themselves.

The primary clinical function of the outreach car is to enable and facilitate direct access to the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance critical care team so that critically ill and injured patients get the treatment they need as early as possible.

The specialist practitioners in critical care (SP-CC) who are based on the car, have enhanced clinical capabilities and bring additional skills, decision-making and equipment to the scene. Some of the equipment is normally only seen within a hospital environment. Items such as the LUCAS chest compression device takes away the physical exertion of delivering CPR, giving the team additional time to communicate more effectively and carry out life-saving decisions that are required in a critical emergency.

The SP-CCs can support any clinical decision-making on scene and have direct access to the air ambulance duty doctor, who is able to give additional clinical advice and support if needed. If the air ambulance is tasked, the SP-CC will continue to work alongside our ambulance service and emergency service colleagues, providing care to the patient, while preparing them for the arrival of our critical care team. On arrival, a full clinical situational report will be handed over and all parties work collaboratively to perform the life-saving interventions the patient may need. 

The SP-CC will remain on scene after the patient has left for hospital. They will participate in a debrief and support emergency services by answering questions about the incident and the patient’s care.

NEXT: Keeping crew and patients safe