Peter JF Baskett 26th July 1934 – 18th April 2008

It is with great sadness that we have to report the death of Peter Baskett. Peter was one of the formative members of JRCALC and throughout his life a staunch supporter of the ambulance service. In particular he was a man who bought his extensive expertise and experience to bear on the creation and evolution of the ambulance Paramedic as a vital healthcare professional in the UK.

Peter was globally respected and acclaimed for his wide-ranging work on resuscitation and pre-hospital care, and as an anaesthetist brought his considerable skills to bear on both subjects. His countless achievements are far too numerous to list but some do merit specific mention here.

In 1969 he was instrumental in introducing the use of Entonox for prehospital analgesia that could be administered by ambulance staff and today of course this agent is still universally used and recognised for its effectiveness. Then in 1972 it was at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol under Peter’s direction that the first two Gloucester ambulance men were seconded for a full year. Here they were educated in all facets of airway management, ventilation, recognition of cardiac arrhythmias and defibrillation, intravenous cannulation and fluid administration and the management of spinal and other traumatic injuries. A parallel initiative was conducted under the direction of Douglas Chamberlain in Brighton but it was not until 1979 that the worth of this pioneering work was eventually, and formally, acknowledged. So came into being the ambulance paramedic that we value so much today.

In September 1989 Peter first represented the Faculty of Anaesthetists (RCS) at the newly-formed Joint Colleges Ambulance Liaison Committee which had been convened to provide national guidance and advice to the burgeoning clinical care provided by UK ambulance services. Despite his extensive and widespread responsibilities throughout the world he continued to provide an active and invaluable contribution in this role up until very recently. Even after standing down from the JRCALC committee he was still always prepared to provide sound advice and his wisdom will be sorely missed. The Joint Royal Colleges Ambulance Liaison Committee are indeed honoured, and privileged, to have had such an exceptional member in their midst and we extend our sympathy to his family at this sad time.