Unsung no more – Swift heroes win accolades

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By RichJefferies | Monday, July 11, 2011, 18:47

The unsung heroes of Wiltshire's highways aren't so anonymous anymore –after recently receiving a clutch of accolades from across the county.

The winning streak peaked when Swift Medics were crowned Wiltshire Community Group of the Year in the Wiltshire Life Awards. 

The three nominees for the award were Swift Medics, The Longmeadow Residents and Tenants Association of Trowbridge, and Wiltshire Air Ambulance. 

Team chairman Dr Adam Brownhill, who collected the award with the charity's secretary Clare Bliss, said: "It is fantastic that our team of volunteers have been recognised for the selfless acts that they perform on behalf of the people of Wiltshire."

Individuals from the team have also received praise. James Dunn, emergency medicine specialist registrar from Swindon, along with Marlborough GP Jonathan Glover, have been named as recipients of the Chief Officer's Commendation from the Great Western Ambulance Service.

Mr Dunn won an award for his immediate and lifesaving actions in the treatment of the victim of a stabbing in Swindon. The hospital teams praised Mr Dunn with the comments that patients with injuries as severe as this rarely make it to hospital alive. 

Dr Glover was commended for his actions in the recent serious road cash at Rowde. Though three young boys lost their lives, Dr Glover and the Wiltshire Air Ambulance provided the cohesive teamwork and critical care which managed to prevent further tragedy.

Swift Medics is a charity of volunteer doctors from hospital and general practice who provide what is known as 'pre-hospital emergency care'. 

Formed in 1996, and registered as a charity early last year, Swift Medics provides emergency care at the scene of serious road traffic accidents and other life threatening medical emergencies including falls from a height, serious burns and incidents where casualties are unconscious or trapped. 

Supporting the paramedics of the Great Western Ambulance Service and  Wiltshire Air Ambulance, Swift Medics work on a voluntary basis using their own vehicles. 

Nine doctors, supported by four volunteer management staff and trustees, enjoy nearly 100 percent success rate in reaching the scene of accidents within 20 minutes – a period during which treatment is considered vital for survival. 

At times Swift Medics are first on the scene and are trained to fully integrate into the emergency services' teams. They are also trained and experienced in management of the medical aspects of major incidents. 

Swift Medics enjoy an excellent working relationship with The Wiltshire Air Ambulance; they regard working with this team as a privilege. However Swift Medics do not receive funding from the air ambulance charity and although the two charities professionally complement one another they remain financially separate organisations.

Meanwhile, the organisers of the Emergency Services Show have announced that Swift Medics will be the chosen charity of this year's event.  It is the second time in as many years that Swift Medics has been proudly associated with the event. 

In 2010 £2,500 of the proceeds from the show were donated to SWIFT Medics – a most vital boost to the charities finances. The show, which features arena displays and demonstrations from all of the county's emergency services, will be coming to Hullavington Airfield near Chippenham on Sunday, September 11,  2011. 

Dr Adam Brownhill, who is based in Chippenham, said: "Swift Medics are very proud to be involved with such an important event, which helps to showcase the best of the emergency services." 

Anyone unlucky enough to be involved in a serious road traffic accident in Wiltshire, may owe their lives to a Swift Medic but, they will probably never know it, as the involvement of the Swift Medics doctors is rarely publicised. 

Despite their vital role in saving lives, Swift Medics receive no funding from local or central government, health trusts, or the NHS. It costs £10,000 to train and equip a new member of the team, and costs a further £3,000 per team member, per year in training, equipment and insurance.

People whose lives have been touched by the work of Swift Medics sometimes go on to help the charity in its fundraising endeavours. 

Back in March the family of Chris Cowie, a 25-year-old Corsham man killed in a car crash in October 2010, ran the Bath Half Marathon and raised over £17,000. Royal chartered silversmith and watch designer Simon Benney ran the Marathon des Sables last year also raising another £17,000 after his critically injured son Todd was treated by Swift Medics.

To find out more about Swift Medics, or to learn how to help the charity, log on to www.swiftmedics.net

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  • Profile image for Victoriaco

    Sounds like great work - are there any Swift Medics in Warminster?

    By Victoriaco at 13:29 on 12/07/11

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