Immediate Care Greats

BASICS was formed in 1977, since that time a number of significant personalities who have contributed both to the work of the Association and to immediate care, in general, have died.

This area remembers them and their contributions:

Dr Kenneth Easton OBE - 1924-2001

Dr Ken Easton founded BASICS in 1977, this short biography provided by Dr Ken Hines (past Honorary Treasurer of BASIC), details his remarkable life and some of his achievements.

Dr Kenneth Easton was the acknowledged father of pre-hospital care in the United Kingdom and indeed in many other parts of the Commonwealth. His tireless campaign to improve the lot of accident victims led both to the foundation of the British Association for Immediate Care and to the formation of Accident and Emergency Medicine as a specialty in its own right.

Born in April 1924, Kenneth Easton trained in Medicine at the Westminster Hospital, London, and was one of a team of senior students sent to the Belsen Concentration Camp soon after its liberation. His experience there remained with him forever and greatly influenced his compassion for those who were suffering and strengthened his own personal faith and belief in the philosophy of “Love thy neighbour as thyself”.

Immediately after the war Dr Easton served as an RAF Medical Officer and quickly became aware of the carnage on the roads on the notorious stretch of the A1 passing his base at Catterick. He gained permission from his Commanding Officer to attend road accidents outside the base and joined forces with a local garage mechanic, the local police and ambulance crews to become a key member of the emergency response team. When Dr Easton left the RAF he remained in the area as a General Practitioner in Catterick.  He was appalled by the primitive care offered to casualties at serious accidents and began a lifelong battle to persuade those in authority to improve training, equipment and facilities. By the mid 1960’s Dr Easton was campaigning tirelessly to improve the standards and provision of pre-hospital emergency care, lecturing up and down the country, lobbying in parliament and getting people from the BMA and the Royal Colleges to listen to his pleas for a better service.

Dr Easton launched his own local immediate care scheme, the Road Accident After Care Scheme (RAACS) in 1967, one of the first medical teams to provide a 24-hour emergency service to casualties at the roadside. By this time Dr Easton had established very close links with all the emergency services and RAACS developed as an integral part of the emergency response. Dr Easton represented his scheme on the Medical Commission on Accident Prevention (MCAP) which was the forum from which Immediate Care and BASICS (The British Association for Immediate Care) emerged independently in 1977.

In 1969 Dr Easton organised the first international symposium on Immediate Care at the Scotch Corner Hotel in North Yorkshire. The response was overwhelming and there was a huge attendance.

In 1970 he was invested as an Officer Brother of the Order of St John, an honour he greatly valued. In 1974 he was awarded an OBE by the Queen for services to immediate care.

He was a founder director of the Trauma Foundation and elected a fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners in 1975. He was also a Freeman of the City of London.

Kenneth Easton became the first Chairman of BASICS following its inaugural meeting in 1977 and served as Chairman for five years. He was subsequently elected an honorary life member. During his term of office he campaigned for government funding and met regularly with the All Party Disablement Group in Parliament, eventually winning some Department of Health funding for BASICS as a pump priming grant. He also launched the Friends of BASICS as a very successful fund raising group to help raise the cash essential to run and develop BASICS.

Dr Easton was instrumental in setting up the Association of Emergency Medical Technicians, AEMT, and was its first president. Always a great encourager and enthuser, nothing was too much trouble. He travelled all around the country and even much of the rest of the world promoting the concepts of pre hospital care. He was highly regarded especially in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. He became a close friend of the late Asmund Laerdal of the Laerdal Foundation in Norway. Dr Easton corresponded with like-minded colleagues all over the world and had the rare and invaluable gift to spur people on to achieve their goals.

As a local family doctor living and working in the same village for most of his medical career he was highly respected and held with great affection and high esteem by patients and colleagues alike. After his retirement he and his wife continued to make Catterick Village their home.

After his retirement Dr Easton continued to support other local charities including a charity for MS sufferers. He maintained close links with his parish church and was an active bell ringer. As chronic ill health closed in Ken was strengthened by his Christian faith. He knew he was going to a place that was “far better”.

Dr Easton’s whole ethos was based on the principle of the Good Samaritan, he would never turn away from an individual in need.

Dr Robin Winch MBE 1932 - 1989

Dr Robin Winch was a general practitioner from Chingford and driving force for immediate care in London as well as in the founding of BASICS.

In 1970 he helped to form the Chingford and District Accident Unit and to lay the foundations of pre-hospital immediate care in London. He fought tirelessly for the acceptance of immediate care as a distinct specialty, and in 1976 a conference took an unexpected turn when he hosted a rebel breakaway meeting in his bedroom at 2 am. The seeds for the British Association for Immediate Care or BASICS were sown.

In 1975 Robin led a team of doctors to the scene of the Moorgate train crash, and to several terrorist and other major incidents that followed. He attended about 200 calls from the ambulance service every year and, perhaps because of his experience as a military police officer during national service, he had a close rapport with the traffic officers at the scenes of accidents.

In 1995 after losing a leg through diabetes, he began helping other amputees to adapt to their new lifestyles. He was also medical adviser to the Great Britain swimming team, and a trained rugby referee. Robin was an enthusiast for extended skills training for ambulance crews,

He was a giant of a man, both in stature and character, who once drove to the east end of London to get some jellied eels for a patient with a terminal illness, much admired by all who knew him and very much a father of immediate care in the UK.

Brigadier Ian Haywood

Brigadier Ian Haywood was a great supporter of the British Association for Immediate Care, BASICS. Brian Robertson, himself a past chairman of the Association, retired TA officer and a great personal friend of Brigadier Haywood provides an insight into the man and his contribution to immediate care.

Throughout his career, Brigadier Ian embraced an aggressive philosophy of trauma management from the battlefield, whether the carnage was civilian or military, through to rehabilitation. He was instrumental, and without doubt an unrecognised pioneer at the time, in bringing the principles of advanced trauma life support (ATLS) across the Atlantic and introducing the British Army trauma life support courses (BATLS) that are now an essential part of medical officer training in both the regular and reserve army medical services. His simple philosophy that drove the development of the BATLS course was that any doctor, irrespective of their specialty, should be able to sustain the seriously injured for that first golden hour with which we are now so familiar.

He actively promoted ATLS training and was a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh’s Immediate Care Board. This involved him as an examiner in the diploma of immediate medical care and in developing pre-hospital trauma life support. In his own military career Ian was appointed joint professor of military surgery, Royal College of Surgeons of England and the Royal Army Medical College London in 1985. In November 1990, like many of his colleagues, he went to the Gulf, in his case as a consultant surgeon at 33 General Surgical Hospital, Al Jubayl, British Forces Middle East.

He rose eventually to be director of army surgery at the Ministry of Defence and an honorary surgeon to the Queen. Despite all his achievements Ian remained “one of us,” with his feet firmly on the ground. His good humour and wise counsel enlivened many a BASICS executive council meeting and he also contributed much to the editorial board of BASICS publications and other BASICS committees on which he served either in a personal capacity or as the representative of the army. It was a great pleasure to see Ian awarded the 1993 Laerdal Award for services to immediate care at the BASICS annual conference.

With his death, the army medical services, BASICS, and the pre-hospital care world lost a good friend and dedicated professional colleague.

Dr Peter Baskett 1934 - 2008

Dr Peter Baskett was one of the world’s leading figures in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and pre-hospital medical care and a past chairman of BASICS as well as long time active member. ‘Col Peter’ served with the Territorial Army commanding 219 Wessex Field Hospital from 1992.

Born in Belfast he graduated from Queens’ University, Belfast, and in 1959 from the University of Cambridge. His initial postgraduate training, including his first post in anaesthesia, was at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast. Dr Baskett had fond memories of his time in Belfast and enjoyed several opportunities to return there as an invited lecturer.

In 1962 Dr Baskett moved to Bristol to complete his anaesthetic training and was subsequently appointed as a consultant anaesthetist to United Bristol Hospitals and Frenchay Hospital in 1966, a position he held until retirement from clinical practice in 1999. Along with a colleague, Dr John Zorab, Dr Baskett established the intensive care unit at Frenchay Hospital, which opened on May 1, 1967.

In the late 1960s, although Entonox was already used routinely for pain relief during childbirth, Dr Baskett decided to explore the feasibility of its administration by ambulance personnel. This was an important innovation. This step marked the beginning of Dr Baskett’s most important contribution to healthcare: the provision of pre-hospital care by specially trained ambulance personnel beyond the simple first aid measures employed up till then.

His idea brought on-scene pain relief to thousands of patients every year. But this was only the start. He soon reasoned that if ambulance crews could be trained to provide Entonox for pain relief there must be much more that they could learn and do. Thus, having been established in the United States, the concept of the “paramedic” began to flourish in the UK.

In order to facilitate training in Bristol, the Gloucestershire ambulance service agreed to base a specially equipped ambulance at Frenchay Hospital. Dr Baskett visited the manufacturer in Manchester and together they designed a modified ambulance body with facilities for oxygen administration, cardiac monitoring and Entonox. This first vehicle became known as the mobile resuscitation unit and was based in a small, specially built garage adjacent to the emergency department at Frenchay Hospital. His idea was that, when not actually out on a call, the ambulance personnel, having higher training, could work in the emergency department. Furthermore, if an emergency call of sufficient seriousness came in, an emergency physician or an anaesthetist could accompany the crew and provide on-scene training.

Dr Baskett was not alone in the development of pre-hospital care in the UK: Douglas Chamberlain equipped ambulances in Brighton with defibrillators and trained ambulance personnel to use them. Meanwhile, general practitioners, with strong leadership from Dr Kenneth Easton, were founding GP-based schemes, which, in due course, led to the foundation of the British Association for Immediate Care Schemes (BASICS). Dr Baskett was a founder member of this organisation and was later chairman, 1981-85. He was also a founder member of a committee that in 1981 evolved from BASICS, the Community Resuscitation Advisory Committee (CRAC). The constitution of this committee was amended in May 1984 giving rise to the Resuscitation Council (UK), the first resuscitation council in Europe.

Dr Baskett went on to be president or chairman of the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland, 1990-92, the United Services section of the Royal Society of Medicine, 1997-99, the World Association for Emergency and Disaster Medicine, 1989-93, the International Trauma Anaesthesia and Critical Care Society, 1995-98, the Triservice Society of Anaesthetists, 1994-95, and the Society of Anaesthetists of the South Western Region, 1997-98.

Although he did not become president of the Royal College of Anaesthetists, he spent 12 years on the college council and its equivalent predecessor. In 1989, Dr Baskett became the chairman of the European Resuscitation Council and through this organisation he was responsible for developing resuscitation throughout Europe. He personally introduced a standardised advanced resuscitation training course into more than 20 European countries. This sustained commitment to frontline, “hands-on” teaching was unique for a man of Dr Baskett’s experience and stature and because of this he was admired by healthcare professionals throughout Europe.

Dr Baskett was editor-in-chief of the journal Resuscitation from 1997 until his death. With his brother, Tom, he co-edited a book, Resuscitation Greats, which documented the history of cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Dr Baskett was influential in the development of trauma services in the UK. Throughout his career he used his international connections to provide training opportunities for numerous anaesthetic trainee doctors from Bristol and elsewhere in the UK. In particular, he set up a strong alliance with the Shock Trauma Centre in Baltimore, which gave many British anaesthetists, several of whom were military doctors, the opportunity to enhance their skills and knowledge in trauma resuscitation.

Dr Baskett had a long-standing and passionate affair with motor sport, an interest he shared with his brother, Julian. He was chief medical officer to Castle Combe circuit, 1968-1995. He continued to attend motor sport events as a doctor until 2007.

Lord Ashley 1922 - 2012

Jack Ashley MP, later Lord Ashley, was made an Honorary Life Member of BASICS in recognition of his efforts on behalf of the then British Association of Immediate Care Schemes.

A supporter and admirer of our founder Dr Ken Easton, Jack Ashley the then MP for Stoke on Trent and chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Disablement Group fought and won several important battles for BASICS within government that secured essential funding and development grants.

Past Honorary Secretary of BASICS Dr Ken Hines said of Lord Ashley, ‘I do not think it an exaggeration to say he was probably a key player in ensuring the long term future for BASICS at that time.’

Jack Ashley entered parliament for Labour in 1966 and only retired in 1992 when he was elevated to the House of Lords as Baron Ashley of Stoke on Trent. Profoundly deaf following surgery to repair a perforated eardrum in the mid 1960’s Jack Ashley was widely respected throughout his long and distinguished parliamentary career for his championing of health and welfare issues. At his instigation the All Party Parliamentary Disablement Group was set up and he chaired this Group for over 40-years.During this time he championed many health and welfare issues that included making TV accessible for the deaf, supporting the rights of those born suffering from the effects of Thalidomide and countering bullying in the military.

Jack Ashley always decried his own achievements, saying: “I was simply bringing about changes in the working environment and in the places where people lived. I think mine was a pragmatic approach.” His late wife who died in 2003, said the secret of his success was his bloody mindedness. Once he had taken up a cause, he was the proverbial dog with a bone, and would never give it up.

Lord Ashley worked behind the scenes as well as within the corridors of power to further the work of immediate care and in particular BASICS within the UK.

Dr Hugh Baird - Obituary

Dr Hugh Baird died at the age of 86 on the 19 08 2012 after a long illness.

Involved with BASICS since its inception in 1977 Hugh was a calm, gentle and wise practitioner who gave great support to BASICS in its early years as the first Vice chairman.  I think I first met Hugh at a now infamous conference in Manchester in 1976 when a rebel meeting at 2am in the late Dr Robin Winch’s room lead to Immediate Care Doctors making a breakaway from MCAP, The Medical Commission on Accident Prevention.  Things moved quickly and in March 1977 at a meeting at the Royal College of Surgeons in London Hugh seconded a motion from the late Dr John Farrar that “ A Medical Association of Immediate Care Schemes be formed”  It was carried unanimously .  Hugh went on to propose that the late Dr Ken Easton be named Convenor of a working party to take matters forward.

In June 1977 at our first AGM Hugh was appointed Vice Chairman, a post he held until 1982 when after a major heart attack he was advised to stop all BASICS activity and so never became our chairman.  His presence at our Executive Council meeting was greatly missed, a tribute to the high regard in which his work for BASICS was held.  He subsequently had coronary artery bypass surgery which was very successful.

Hugh was the first Scottish representative and worked tirelessly for the interests of Scottish Immediate Care as Scottish affairs were managed from the BASICS office, at that time, in the basement of the Royal College of GPs in London

It was the foresight of people like Dr Hugh Baird that set the sure foundations for BASICS and BASICS Scotland, the successful organisations they are today.

He leaves a wife and four children