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Suffolk rescue service launches new £40,000 rapid response vehicle




The Suffolk Accident Rescue Service (SARS) has today launched a new rapid response vehicle

The Volvo XC90, will be operational across Suffolk, carrying volunteer medical teams to help treat critically ill or injured patients in the community or at the roadside.

The announcement follows the purchase of the vheicle after a £40,000 donation from the HELP Appeal.

Dr Ben Peirce and Sars chairman, James Whatling in the new vehicle (39791232)
Dr Ben Peirce and Sars chairman, James Whatling in the new vehicle (39791232)

The RRV will be crewed by specialist clinicians including anaesthetists, emergency medicine consultants, critical care paramedics, nurses and advanced clinical practitioners.

It will also carry additional equipment not found on frontline ambulances such as a portable ultrasound and an automated chest compression system.

The new SARS team, called SMED26 vehicle will join an existing SARS team response car, called SMED20.

SARS Operations Manager Ben Hall, ACP Kevin Breitsprecher, Dr Ben Peirce, Dr Nicola Ebbs (39791341)
SARS Operations Manager Ben Hall, ACP Kevin Breitsprecher, Dr Ben Peirce, Dr Nicola Ebbs (39791341)

“The ability to have two teams running concurrently is a significant development for SARS and means that we are now able to extend our reach across Suffolk and beyond," said SARS chairman, James Whatling.

"SMED26 will bring advanced life-saving interventions to more people who find themselves in need of the skilled assistance which SARS volunteers have provided proudly for more than 4 decades.

"We know that the timely application of advanced care is one significant factor which can lead to a reduction in the loss of life or permanent disability following life threatening trauma or medical emergency.

"SMED26 reinforces our commitment to serve the people of Suffolk, hopefully for another 48 years and beyond.”

SARS operations manager, Ben Hall, said: “It was such a boost to receive the grant from the HELP Appeal.

"We have been gradually expanding our team resources over the last couple of years and with this key bit of infrastructure in place, we can run more shifts and help more patients, which is great news.”

Robert Bertram, chief executive of the HELP Appeal, said: “SARS’ selfless volunteers will be able to reach incidents quickly and safely, equipped with even more lifesaving medical kit to help give patients the best possible chance of survival and recovery.”

SARS also has a network of 13 autonomous responders who are called out from their homes in and around Suffolk to help treat patients in their local catchment area.

The charity was established by local doctors in 1972 and since then has provided immediate medical care to thousands of patients and saved countless lives.

All SARS clinicians volunteer their time without charge and at no cost to the patient. The charity, which has been operational for 48 years, is funded by voluntary grants and donations.

The HELP Appeal was created 11 years ago by the County Air Ambulance Trust. It is the only charity in the country dedicated to funding NHS hospital helipads.