The West Midlands Central Accident Resuscitation Emergency (CARE) Team is a charitable organisation that responds to serious medical incidents across the West Midlands in support of West Midlands Ambulance Service University NHS Foundation Trust.
The team evolved from a ‘flying squad’ set up in the late 1980s by Professor Sir Keith Porter during the national ambulance strikes and based itself out of the old Birmingham Accident Hospital.
Our Charitable Aims
“The relief of suffering, injury or illness by the provision of immediate medical care and advancing the study of immediate medical care by the provision of training and research.”
Working in teams alongside the West Midlands Ambulance Service University NHS Foundation Trust (WMAS), our volunteer doctors, nurses, paramedics and other healthcare professionals deliver enhanced clinical care to seriously injured and unwell patients.
Our Advanced Pre-Hospital Emergency Medical (PHEM) teams deploy in charity-funded rapid response vehicles in support of West Midlands Ambulance Service to deliver enhanced clinical care to seriously ill and injured patients across the region.
Our members are all volunteers and come from a variety of clinical backgrounds and professions. All have experience at dealing with critically unwell patients in the hospital setting and have then been provided specific training to enable them to project their skills safely and effectively into the pre-hospital environment.
The team are able to provide advanced interventions usually only available in a hospital, including:
- Advanced pain relief
- Procedural sedation
- Advanced airway management
- Lifesaving surgical interventions
- Mechanical chest compressions
- Antidote and clot-busting therapy in cardiac arrest
- Pre-hospital ultrasound
Our teams consist of an experienced Clinical Lead and Clinical Support who work closely with ambulance service personnel to deliver high quality clinical care to patients at the scene.
A vehicle commander trained in emergency response driving ensures the team arrive in a safe and timely fashion and remain safe at scene. They are also able to assist with the delivery of enhanced interventions thereby minimising on scene times.
The fourth space within the team is reserved for our CARE Team trainees or an observer.
During the introduction of the West Midlands Trauma Network in 2013, our team played a central role in the development and staffing of a newly formed Medical Emergency Response & Incident Team (MERIT) platform. Now fully commissioned by the NHS, the MERIT service is the envy of many other ambulance services and has been instrumental in driving forward improvements in trauma care across the West Midlands. Five years on we are proud that nearly 80% of the physicians working on the MERIT service started out as trainees and team members on the CARE Team and we continue to work in mutual support of this valuable service. As the Trauma system matured it became increasingly apparent that the built up inner-city areas of Birmingham were proving difficult to access by our local helicopter emergency medical services and patients were missing out on advanced medical support during the daytime. As a result, we have been working hard to progressively increase our daytime cover to help meet this trauma demand.
In parallel to our work with trauma patients we were able to successfully pilot the region’s first advanced Cardiac Arrest platform. We became the first enhanced care service within the region to adopt Mechanical Chest Compression devices and Pre-hospital Ultrasound as part of our routine advanced cardiac arrest response. The benefits we were able to demonstrate from our pilot led to the commissioning of a charity funded critical care paramedic led response car that now supports the provision of advanced cardiac arrest care within the central midlands area.
Through a collaborative partnership with the West Midlands Ambulance Service and the GoodSAM App, our ARREST Project hopes to deliver further improvements in cardiac arrest survival and save more lives across the west midlands..
The West Midlands CARE Team receives no government or NHS funding for the voluntary services we provide and rely entirely on the hard work of our fundraisers and donations from the general public to fund our life-saving service.