The History of LIVES

A horrific accident on the A1 at Catterick occurred in the early 70’s, when no doctor was available to attend and the casualty died through lack of immediate medical assistance. This triggered Dr Ken Easton, a local GP to develop the services of a voluntary group of Doctors who would be available to attend road traffic accidents to provide assistance to the Emergency Services.

Two doctors in Lincolnshire, Dr Michael Cooper from Nettleham and Dr Richard Harper-Smith of Tetford immediately responded to this concept. They held an open meeting of doctors to discuss the development of this voluntary service. To their delight, the meeting was attended by over 100 local doctors who received the idea with enthusiasm. As a result of this meeting, LIVES was born. The Lincolnshire Integrated Voluntary Emergency Service. This was a scheme to provide emergency medical assistance for road traffic accident victims and other trauma cases which was welcomed by all the emergency services, Ambulance, Police and Fire.

In those early days LIVES had no funds and joining doctors had to buy their own equipment.. As time went by and after much hard work several companies and institutes gave money which was spent on establishing a radio-communication system to improve the efficiency of callouts. A mixture of telephones and two way radios were introduced with transmitters at Nettleham and Fulletby.

In 1974 Dr Mike Cooper became ill and had to resign from the Chair and Dr Richard Harper-Smith took over, the position confirmed at the 1975 AGM. Dr Mike Cooper sadly died in 1976.

By 1980 further transmitters were installed at Barton, Boston and Sleaford and LIVES employed 3 part time operators. Unfortunately communications were still limited and additional transmitters had to be provided making a total of seven. Each transmitter was then connected to the control room at the County Hospital by landline. These alone were costing £10,000 a year in rental.

In the 1990’s Lincoln County Hospital declared that as a result of a modernisation programme it was not possible to continue letting LIVES have a room at the A & E Department. The radio system was now getting obsolete and expensive to run .

After discussion with various bodies, and looking at alternatives, it was decided to accept an invitation from the Lincolnshire Ambulance Service to base LIVES Control within the ambulance control centre. This move greatly improved the efficiency of LIVES callout and still operates to this day as part of the computerised automatic dispatch (CAD) system.

In 1999 the Chief Executive of the Ambulance Trust invited LIVES to establish a First Responder Service for suspected heart attack victims. It was envisaged that this would enable an equality of service to be extended across the rural areas within the County. LIVES saw this as an extension of their existing service and readily agreed to participate. It was agreed to call this part of LIVES “The First Responder Scheme”.

A Co-ordinator was appointed to set up the First Responder Scheme. Volunteers were invited to become Responders and the response following initial recruitment was overwhelming. In each area a volunteer was required to organise a group of volunteers and raise a given sum to finance the initial purchase of equipment etc. Currently there are 158 groups operating throughout Lincolnshire.

In 2003 LIVES moved into it’s current head office at The War Memorial Center in Horncastle.