Over the last 15 years, the Trust has funded over 1000 Sandpiper Bags and equipped, trained and linked nearly 200 volunteer, medical responders to the Scottish Ambulance Service.  This has come at a cost of over £1,500,000 and has been no mean feat for a small, family run charity. These costs have been covered by the hard work of our dedicated team, who have successfully applied for funds and grants as well as managed donations from our wonderful supporters.

In addition, Wildcat, our latest and most ambitious campaign to date, is in full swing. This cardiac arrest initiative aims to save 50 lives every year in Grampian and comes at a cost of £850,000, which is 100% funded by us.

In order to save lives, here’s a breakdown of the equipment which we fund:


Doctor with Sandpiper Bag

The Sandpiper Bag (£1,000 each)

The Sandpiper Bag was devised by the British Association for Immediate Care, Scotland (BASICS) medical team in order to create a standardised, portable and effective immediate care medical kit for doctors and nurses in remote parts of Scotland. Since 2001 improvements have been made by the addition of paediatric equipment and the bag itself has been redesigned with the assistance of Chris Tiso and his team from Tiso’s Outdoor clothing retailers. We are very proud that the Sandpiper Bag has received international acclaim.

1000 Sandpiper bags have now been distributed throughout Scotland to a wonderful team of doctors and nurses who have undergone a rigorous training programme through BASICS and are now willing to provide highly skilled immediate care on a voluntary basis..

A comprehensive list of over 50 items are included in the Sandpiper Bag which has been specially designed for ease of use, portability and standardisation.


The kit consists of the following items of equipment:

Vitalograph aspirator CPR face mask Multiflow oxygen regulator
Nasopharyngeal airways Laryngoscope handle and kit Portex mini-trach kit and chest drainage kit
Stiff neck collars Paramedic shears Flexible catheter mount
3 way sterile stop cock Magills forceps Guedel airways
Bag valve mask Laryngeal mask airways Intraosseous needles
Laryngoscope blades Reflective jacket Green strobe beacon


Interested in becoming a bag holder?

If you are a medical professional and believe that your community would benefit from access to an emergency medical kit, then you can make an application for a Sandpiper Bag. Your application form request can be made here.  Following assessment by our medical advisers, if qualifications and conditions are met, approval is granted at regular Trustee meetings.



Defibrillators (£1,200 each)

Defibrillators have been around since the 1950’s and have been used in the fight against sudden cardiac arrest over the last 60+years. They are an integral part of the chain of survival. What’s that? When someone suffers an out of hospital cardiac arrest, if certain things happen in a certain order, their chances of survival are hugely increased. This concept is known as the ‘Chain of Survival’.

The chain, when unbroken, means the victim of sudden cardiac arrest receives the best possible immediate care.

The defibrillators, supplied to BASICS responders by Sandpiper, have a significant benefit to victims of sudden unexpected cardiac arrest in remote and rural Scotland.

A defibrillator needs to be used as soon as possible on the cardiac arrest patient to improve their chances of survival. For every minute after an arrest, the chances of survival reduce by 10%. Timing is everything.

When a cardiac arrest occurs the patients heart frequently jumps out of normal rhythm to an abnormal rhythm known as Ventricular Fibrillation. The Defibrillator is able to detect this rhythm and if indicated provides a medically controlled electric shock to jump the abnormal rhythm back to normal. Sometimes many shocks may be required and the operator is guided by visual and voice prompts provided by the defibrillator.

The AED provided by Sandpiper is the latest generation of Automated External Defibrillator that uses ‘smart pad’ technology to detect patients in Ventricular Fibrillation Cardiac Arrest and provides rescue shocks to attempt to normalise the victims heart rhythm.

They are easy to use and have a long pad and battery life. Their light weight and robustness allows them to be carried within the Sandpiper bag if required.

Sandpiper has sponsored a number of defibrillators to be positioned in strategic locations such as Cattle Auction Marts, Golf Courses and other locations to help in the fight against sudden unexpected Cardiac death.

Vehicle Locator System (£1,000 each)

Our BASICS responders are located by Ambulance Control Centres via Vehicle Locator Systems (VLS). These systems are now the recognised way for the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) to track and mobilise our responders. Using GPS and mobile phone technologies, the systems allow emergency call handlers to locate the nearest, available responder and despatch them immediately to category A 999 calls.

With our financial support and in discussion with SAS, BASICS Scotland is currently providing VLS units to volunteer responders who have completed a pre-hospital training course and are in possession of a Sandpiper Bag and defibrillator.

Today there are 65??? VLS units throughout Scotland with more being required on a regular basis.


Sandpiper Training Pod (£3,000 each)

Due to work commitments, it’s not always possible for our responders to attend training courses, especially for those based in more remote areas.  So, to ensure that skills are always up to date we fund what are known as Sandpiper Training Pods. Pods are distributed out to rural health care professionals all over Scotland and contain a variety of training equipment covering circulation, breathing and airway items as well as training manikins.

This type of education has been developing over the last few years and is now able to be delivered face-to-face over the internet to small groups of health care professionals from Orkney to the Scottish Borders.

With these pods, our responders are able to refresh or advance their knowledge and skills in pre-hospital trauma care, ensuring that they are fully primed to act as soon as required.


BASICS Responders (£4,000 each)BASICS responder with Sandpiper Bag and car

So far, we have listed the individual items which the Trust funds. As we explain below, when it comes to equipping each of our BASICS responders, multiple items are required to ensure that they can do their job. They do this on a voluntary basis, so the costs below are for equipment only.

A BASICS responder is a rural registered health care professional such as a nurse, doctor or paramedic. They have all received additional pre-hospital emergency training from BASICS after which they can apply for additional equipment provided by The Sandpiper Trust. This equipment includes:

  • A Sandpiper Bag
  • A Defibrillator
  • A Vehicle Locator System (VLS) or smart phone

BASICS Responders are contacted by the Scottish Ambulance Service dispatch centres via their VLS / smart phone to attend 999 calls where there is no local ambulance available to attend and are often first on scene.

To fully equip each responder costs £4,000.


Regional Representatives / Responders

Through funding from the Scottish Government and The Sandpiper Trust, BASICS Scotland regional representatives have been recruited to promote the work of BASICS Scotland responders in each of the 3 regions that the Scottish Ambulance Service Control Centres cover.

We know that our approach to out of hospital emergency care works and we want to build on this by increasing the current numbers of nurse, doctor and paramedic responders trained and equipped to provide immediate medical care in Scotland. Our regional responders are tasked with making this happen.

Working alongside the Scottish Ambulance Service, regional reps also look at how responders are utilised, maximising the potential benefits to seriously ill patients in remote and rural Scotland.

The current regional reps are:


Brian Fitzsimons

Ewen McLeod

East & Borders:

John Ferris

Ludovic McIntosh

West Region:

Hal Maxwell

David Hogg