BEEP Doctors urge public for donations to buy fourth emergency response vehicle

A team of dedicated volunteer doctors which carries out life-saving work in Cumbria is asking the public to help it raise £60,000 to buy and equip a new emergency response vehicle.

Beep Doctors (BASICS Cumbria), which this year celebrates its 30th anniversary, hopes individuals, groups and businesses will make donations and hold fund-raising events.

“We already have three such cars deployed across Cumbria that have increased our response capability, particularly in the west and south. However, to enhance our reach across the north of the county, we are seeking to acquire a fourth,” said the charity’s founder and chair Dr Theo Weston MBE.

Cumbria’s BEEP Doctors, who are all volunteers, provide enhanced pre-hospital emergency medical care. They work closely with the police and fire services, North West Ambulance Service, Great North Air Ambulance Service and North West Air Ambulance.

At incidents BEEP Doctors can carry out some surgical procedures, such as inserting chest drains; some can perform pre-hospital anaesthetics and all are able to administer drugs that most road crew paramedics cannot, such as ketamine/fentanyl to give pain relief and allow fracture manipulation.

Many of the emergencies they attend are road traffic collisions, as well as incidents involving farms, pushbikes, horses and water.

The new car will be fully marked as an emergency response vehicle, have ‘blues and twos’ and will be branded with the BEEP Doctors’ logo. Such vehicles are more visible to other drivers than the personal cars some BEEP Doctors use to reach incidents, which means the doctors can make swifter progress more safely and the cars can be used at the roadside for defensive parking to boost the safety of clinicians and patients.

The charity already has about £12,000 towards the cost of the fourth car. Around £6,000 of that sum was raised by 13-year-old Tom Taylor who, just before Christmas, walked for 24 hours, covering more than 30 miles, while towing his kayak around the streets of Penrith.

Anyone who raises more than £3,000 for the new vehicle can have their name printed on the car.

The BEEP Fund, as it was then called, was founded by Dr Weston in 1994. Over the years it has grown from just three doctors operating in a 15-mile radius around Penrith to the current 13, who cover all of Cumbria. Last year BEEP Doctors (BASICS Cumbria) was awarded The King’s Award for Voluntary Service – the highest award a local voluntary group can receive in the United Kingdom.

So far in 2024, BEEP Doctors have attended 62 incidents and carried out a total of 176 volunteer hours.

Despite attending a significant number of trauma-related incidents and medical emergencies across the whole of Cumbria, the organisation remains relatively unknown in some parts of the county. It hopes the 30th anniversary will help to boost its profile.

The charity will be embarking on a roadshow attending a series of events and shows later this year and posters highlighting its work will be distributed to local businesses, shops, GP surgeries and community noticeboards.

It costs about £250,000 a year to operate the BEEP Doctors service, which relies solely on public donations and receives no Government or NHS funding.

Dr Weston said: “I want to express my gratitude to everyone who has supported and contributed to our charity’s journey over the past three decades. As we celebrate our 30th year of operations, I want to recognise that their generosity and ongoing support have been essential to our lifesaving work.

“Whether they have donated, volunteered or simply spread the word about our cause, they’ve played a crucial role in our success.”

Anyone who would like more information about fund-raising for the fourth car or for BEEP Doctors in general, or anyone who could display or help distribute its 30th anniversary posters, can email or telephone 01768 809535.

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