History of LIVES
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History of LIVES

Beginning with two local doctors.
Growing into an army of life-saving volunteers

You’ve probably never heard of our two founders, Dr Michael Cooper and Dr Richard Harper-Smith. But trust us, without them, many lives in Lincolnshire would have been lost over the last 50 years.


Back in the 1970s they built the LIVES concept upon a simple purpose: to provide expert emergency medical assistance for road traffic accident victims and trauma patients in our county.

From a standing start, the idea quickly gathered support from over a hundred local doctors, and so the LIVES journey began. The road ahead would not be easy though. In the beginning LIVES had no funds to speak of and the medical professionals who volunteered to help us provided not only their time, but their own equipment too.

Thankfully in those early days, local businesses and institutes initiated a culture of support that’s still clear to see today.

They saw the value of LIVES. They recognised that something quite exceptional had been born. And we’re proud to say community backing has continued to grow. Thanks to the generosity of local businesses, partners, members of the public and of course, our growing number of volunteers – we’re still here. Getting stronger every year. Continuing to save lives in our community.


At a glance: milestones in our LIVES

1970s:

Dr Michael Cooper from Nettleham and Dr Richard Harper-Smith of Tetford, devised the LIVES concept.

Communication system to improve the efficiency of call-out. A mixture of telephones and two-way radios were introduced with transmitters at Nettleham and Fulletby.

1980s:

Further transmitters were installed at Barton, Boston and Sleaford employing three part-time operators. Communications remained limited and additional transmitters were provided by charitable contribution, to a total of seven. Each transmitter was then connected to the control room at the Lincoln County Hospital by landline. These alone, cost £10,000 a year in rental.

1990s:

An invitation from the Lincolnshire Ambulance Service to base LIVES Control within the ambulance control centre was accepted and LIVES control was moved to the ambulance headquarters at Bracebridge Heath. This move greatly improved the efficiency of LIVES call-out and still operates to this day, as part of the computerised automatic dispatch (CAD) system.

The Chief Executive of the Ambulance Trust invited LIVES to establish a community first responder service for suspected victims of cardiac arrest. 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. This then became the LIVES ‘First Responder Scheme’.

2000s:

As the ‘First Responder Scheme’ grows, research by the Sheffield University School of Health and Associated Research (SHARR) shows that LIVES responds to over 25% of Category A calls in Lincolnshire. For 60% of these calls, LIVES arrives significantly faster, with an average response rate of 5.2 minutes. LIVES improves response time performance by 35% overall, and 55% in rural areas.

2010s:

Nikki Silver is appointed as the first Chief Executive of the charity and Dr Simon Topham becomes Medical Director. This signals the beginning of a period of significant growth in the services offered to the people of Lincolnshire.

The now iconic brand of LIVES is launched in 2016, introducing our new bold yellow logo which we see today.

LIVES celebrates 20 years of working together with Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue and adding additional 999 medical response with LIVES Co-responders.

2020s:

In 2020, LIVES celebrates its 50th Year although celebrations are curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic.

New clinical response teams launch including the ground-breaking Community Emergency Medicine Service (CEMS) teams and the LIVES Falls Response service. These teams use LIVES emergency responding skills to bring care to patients who might not otherwise benefit.

Critical Care Car launches in 2021 to provide a critical care service, direct to the patient, supporting the most seriously ill or injured patients with advanced care and interventions.

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