History of BASICS Scotland

Established in 1977 by Dr Ken Easton, BASICS is now a nationwide organisation which actively promotes the provision of pre-hospital care.

Dr Easton developed the idea of BASICS as result of attending many road traffic accidents in which people were losing their lives due to the lack of portable equipment and training for medical practitioners. It was recognised that there was a need to improve the situation and he worked with colleagues in the Emergency Services and the medical profession to develop expertise and equipment suitable for use in this field. 

During the late 70s and early 80s, training in cardiac and trauma resuscitation began within hospitals and it was decided that BASICS would adapt these courses for the pre-hospital environment.

Modified courses were created to take into account the particular problems encountered when dealing with casualties on scene in a pre-hospital environment (for example at a road traffic accident where Immediate Medical Care is necessary prior to an ambulance arriving). These courses began running in Cambridge and subsequently throughout the rest of the UK.

Scottish BASICS: 1993-2001

The BASICS courses started running in Scotland in 1993, and very quickly it became obvious that there was a high demand for these courses in remote and rural Scotland, as some areas did not have readily available access to  ambulances or paramedics, for example Islands on West Coast of Scotland.

The demand initially was provided by courses run centrally in Scotland, but it was soon recognised by many remote and rural health boards that training was needed in the pre-hospital environment due to long journey times to hospital care.

The demand for such training was reinforced following the crash of a military helicopter near Campbeltown in 1994.

The courses were thus altered to allow delivery anywhere in Scotland, and particularly to cater for the needs of remote and rural GPs. Argyll & Clyde Health Board soon recognised that it was not only General Practitioners that needed such training but also nurses and paramedics.

BASICS Scotland: 2002-present

BASICS delivery in Scotland grew to the extent that it was necessary to form a separate organisation and BASICS Scotland was registered as an independent charity in 2002 to provide courses in remote and rural areas in Scotland for health professionals working in surgeries or local hospitals.

BASICS Scotland in now based in Aberuthven, Perthshire and runs courses all over Scotland from the Borders to the Shetland Isles.

The courses are attended by GPs, Nurses and Paramedics who wish to be trained in pre-hospital care. Various types of equipment are used during the courses including simulation manikin and a specially prepared vehicle which can be used to demonstrate how to extricate patients from a car. The courses use a mixture of skill stations and simulations to provide the candidates with realistic experience of the techniques used in the pre-hospital setting.

Development of these courses has continued throughout the years and with the support of NES (NHS Education Scotland) we can provide approximately 320 course places per year.

The provision of pre-hospital care in Scotland was significantly improved in 2001 by the formation of The Sandpiper Trust. This charitable organisation was formed to provide remote and rural medical practitioners with equipment that would allow them to provide immediate care at the scene. An early benefit of this organisation was the design of the Sandpiper Bag specifically for the use of remote and rural practitioners in Scotland. The Sandpiper Bag is now the recognised standard pre-hospital care equipment in Scotland and is used extensively on the BASICS Scotland courses. The Sandpiper Trust is a charitable organisation and relies on donations and proceeds from fundraising events to provide the Sandpiper Bags to the remote and rural practitioners. The partnership with the Sandpiper Trust and BASICS Scotland has resulted in almost over 1000 Sandpiper Bags being issued to BASICS Scotland Responders.

The addition of vehicle Location Systems (VLS) attached to their cars allows BASICS Responders to advise the Scottish Ambulance Service when they are available to attend any incident occurring in their locality. As a result many BASICS trained practitioners are the first on scene to incidents in remote and rural areas, ensuring potentially life-saving medical care is given immediately.