Cost of living crisis is hitting life-saving Cumbrian charity

A Cumbrian charity fears the cost-of-living crisis could soon have a huge impact on its ability
to perform life-saving work.
Now emergency medical care service BEEP Doctors (BASICS) Cumbria is pleading with
individuals and businesses to make donations to ensure its vital work is safeguarded.
“Every penny donated makes a huge difference to us,” said BEEP Doctors’ Cumbria chair Dr
Theo Weston MBE.

But he warned: “With the current cost of living crisis, including soaring energy bills, our fear
is that regular donations will reduce, which will have a massive impact on our ability to
perform lifesaving work across Cumbria.”
Cumbria’s team of 12 volunteer doctors are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 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; pre-hospital anaesthetics; and administer drugs that most road crew paramedics
cannot, such as ketamine 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.
It costs between £150,000-£200,000 a year to run the service, which receives no NHS
funding.
“The cost of everything we use has increased – drugs, equipment and consumables such as
syringes, defibrillator pads and breathing circuits,” said Dr Chris Moss, one of the Beep
doctors. “Each incident we attend can use up hundreds of pounds of these consumables.”
He said fuel costs had risen significantly, which had led to a huge rise in operational costs.
“Some of our money comes from grants and trusts funds but these are under pressure
because the cost-of-living crisis means there are a lot more applications as charities struggle
with fund-raising,” said Dr Moss.

Other money came from private individuals but everyone was facing rising costs.
He said legacy funding had ‘totally dried up’ over recent years. “We are not necessarily
expecting people to donate a house – it can simply be leaving a couple of hundred pounds
to us in a will. But as people have less money to spend, they are less likely to give donations
to charities like ours as part of a will.”

He added the relatively sparsely-populated nature of Cumbria also played a part. “This is not
like London, where there are nearly ten million people. In Cumbria there are far fewer
people to donate to charity,” said Dr Moss.

“Many people in this county also work in hospitality, which is suffering because of rising
energy bills. Those staff are worried about their jobs and their own rising bills so are less
likely to give to charity.”

He said BEEP Doctors was reliant on small donations – what he called ‘trickle funding’.
“It is the small coffee mornings and the children’s cake sales – these are so important to us.
Just getting a cheque through the post for £50 means the world to us and can really make a
life-saving difference.”

The charity’s plea was for people to set up regular direct debits to help fund BEEP Doctors.
“If we could get 5,000 people donating £1 a month it would make the world of difference to
how we operate,” said Dr Moss.

He added: “We do have a small reserve to keep operational but the more we have to dig
into it the tighter things become.”

If anyone would like to donate cash to BEEP Doctors, they can do so in a variety of ways,
including by texting BEEP to 70085 to donate £2 or BEEP to 70450 to donate £10. More
information is available on the charity’s website www.beepdoctors.co.uk or by
emailing info@beepdoctors.co.uk


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