History of SARS

Since 1972, many thousands of patients have been treated by SARS volunteers and countless lives have been saved.

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Life saving stats

The first medical resource on scene in around 20% of incidents attended

SARS has responded to over 17500 call outs

Over 5000 clinical hours volunteered annually

£0 cost to the patients we treat

Origins of Immediate Care 

SARS is one of the UK’s oldest emergency medical charities and has evolved significantly over the last five decades. 

One of the key pioneers of pre-hospital or Immediate Care was Dr Kenneth Easton of Catterick, North Yorkshire. As a GP in Catterick, Easton was acutely aware of the problems encountered when medical emergencies occurred in locations miles away from the nearest hospital. He campaigned for more recognition of the part that could be played by medical practitioners rendering immediate medical aid at the scene of incidents (at the time, ambulances lacked medical equipment and were little more than a means of transport.) Dr Easton set up the first immediate care scheme in North Yorkshire in 1967. After the success of this scheme he encouraged others to set up similar schemes in their localities around the UK.

One of the first converts to Easton’s philosophy was Dr Graham Bracewell, a Wrentham-based GP, who saw the potential benefits for patients in a rural county like Suffolk. After lengthy discussions with the statutory emergency services and local health authorities, SARS became operational on the 1st May 1972.

Forty two doctors volunteered in the first year of operations and began to have an immediate impact.

Local press cutting from 1970's

“Many accident victims are I know, alive and well today simply because of their care and devotion”
A.McAndrew, Divisional Commander Suffolk Fire Service 1977

SARS volunteer doctor, circa 1980's

SARS volunteer doctors kit in 1990's

SARS volunteer doctor undergoing training at RAF Wattisham in the 1990's

SARS volunteer doctor working alongside emergency services and B Flight 22 Squadron at a serious RTC in 2000

Despite many developments over the years, the aim of SARS remains the same. By bringing additional skills and equipment to an incident scene, we can bring positive benefits to patients and give them a better chance of survival as well as reducing the chances of them suffering permanent disability.

Over the last 47 years, SARS volunteer clinicians have treated thousands of patients and saved countless lives.

“The SARS doctor was amazing and we felt in very safe hands”
Patient & Family feedback 2018

SARS volunteer critical care team working alongside HEMS and Ambulance teams in 2019

Make a donation

We rely on donations to support our life-saving activity.

SARS receives no central government funding. We rely on voluntary donations to fund equipment and training for our clinical volunteers. Please help us offer the best possible service to the people of Suffolk and its surrounding areas. 

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Suffolk Accident Rescue Service, Unit 1b, Woolpit Business Park, Windmill Avenue, Woolpit, IP30 9UP | Registered Charity no 1168764

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