Mobile Cardiac Unit
for Burton Road Hospital
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Winner 1983
District Significant Achievement Award

Dudley Rotary Club is the only Club in District 1210 to have been presented with four District Significant Achievement Awards.

The Mobile Cardiac Unit is a rapid response vehicle equipped with all necessary resuscitation equipment and medication to treat heart attack patients in response to emergency calls for assistance. Every minute saved in providing medical help increases the chances of survival of a heart attach victim so the Club aimed to provide the local coronary care hospital team with the means of delivering skilled rapid emergency care directly to the victim.

The Rotary Club introduced the first such vehicle to the town in 1971 - indeed it was one of the very first in the whole of the British Isles - and replaced it with a bigger and better unit on two further occasions. The award in 1983 was for the third.

The original vehicle, a Vauxhall Viva estate car, was provided by the efforts of the Rotary Club in conjunction with Dr Kubik, who was then in charge of the Intensive Therapy Unit at Burton Road Hospital, Dudley.

It soon became obvious that that particular vehicle was too small and underpowered for the needs of the service. As a result, in 1975, the Dudley Rotary Club again financed a vehicle, larger, this time - a Vauxhall Victor estate car - which continued in service until 1983. Even this vehicle, though satisfactory in most ways, had its snags. Wintry conditions made it impossible to reach difficult places, and the wear and tear of eight years' service made it urgent that the vehicle be replaced.

Over the years, the Club had become thoroughly convinced that, by our association with this well-known local life-saving institution, the reputation of Rotary in the eyes of the local populace has been enhanced to an extent disproportionate to the money and effort involved. We were, therefore, determined to continue to provide for this local need, whatever the cost. It was agreed with Dr H H Stentiford, who had recently taken over the Unit from Dr Kubik, that Dudley Rotary Club would again provide a replacement vehicle.

Although this was not clear in June, it later emerged that Dr Stentiford and his team were keen that the new vehicle should be a 4-door Range Rover, so we were facing a target of something approaching £15,000, whereas we had originally spoken of £8,000-£9,000 for a Volvo estate. Undaunted, the Fund-raising Committee decided that we would make one all-out attack on our target by raffling a Mini-Metro car, selling the tickets at 50 pence apiece. One or two other efforts were already in the pipe-line: A Marks and Spencer fashion show in September and a Treorchy Male Voice Choir concert in October gave us a good start. However, our main effort was launched in December.

December 13th was, in fact, our Charter Day and 1982 was the 60th anniversary of the Club's coming into being. On December 13th, at a special evening, the project was given its send-off: the books of tickets were distributed through our own membership, each one being responsible for those he passed on. During February/March, a shop in the town centre was opened at weekends for the sale of tickets, stands were taken outside W H Smith Do-it-All and elsewhere; in May, permission was obtained to sell tickets at a Speedway meeting at Cradley: and in these various ways, enough money was raised to buy the Mini-Metro and to leave a surplus of about £10,500. The winning ticket was drawn on July 9th at the Burton Road Fête.

Money was also reaching us from donations. All local firms were written to through the Chamber of Commerce, and many responded with sums of from £5-£500. The publicity brought donations from those who, where there had been a bereavement, preferred money to be given rather than flowers. Altogether, the donations amounted to over £6,000 which meant that the target had been surpassed - without using the income from the Fashion Show and Concert which had not been specifically earmarked for this purpose.

The Vehicle was delivered to the Health Authority in November 1983 and remained in service for another five years or so, being called out on average more than once a day and undoubtedly giving life-saving assistance to large numbers of patients in Dudley and surrounding districts. The facility has become an essential part of the local accident and emergency service, so several such vehicles now operate in the district. The Rotary Club is proud to have been the pioneer.