Taken from the FWS report 1982
When Stonehenge 81 finally finished, I said "Never again" but as the months slipped away the reality emerged that the solstice was again rapidly approaching and it was time to plan
once again. Of course it was said by everyone that it would not happen - it would be banned - legislation had been passed etc.
But after some preliminary consultation with the police it was felt it would happen again, so off to the planning.
After much consultation with
St. John Area Staff, Divisional Staff and staff from the Health Authority (Hospital
and Ambulance) it was decided that the First Aid and Medical facilities would
remain much the same as last year, with the exception that the numbers of ambulances
would be reduced to one. (This was mainly due to the substantial demand being
made of the St, John Ambulance Divisions for public duties.)
With only one marquee being used, the set up was as follows :
1. Marquee (courtesy of Salisbury Health District). This was to be used as a "Ward" and treatment area. It was equipped with five _ beds and a small dressing area, portable screening was also available . Heating was maintained by using a portable gas heater (courtesy Salisbury Division St. John Ambulance).
2. Mobile Dressing Station (converted coach - courtesy Salisbury Division St. John Ambulance) was used for any "sterile procedure" and for Doctors surgery, with the front end used as the radio control room. This unit came into its own as you will see later on in the report the "Ward" was in great demand day and night.
used by day as a dining area and by night as a "on call" station. Although small, this unit worked satisfactorily.
4. Area Caravan - This was used for staff sleeping and washing facilities - this proved very useful this year.
5. Ambulance - this was supplied by Amesbury Division (a second one was loaned by Salisbury Division over the Solstice Weekend).
6. Electricity supply - a diesel generator was loaned by Salisbury Health District. This was a great asset - noise and cost. We were able to use fluorescent strip lights in all units.
After consultation with the Wiltshire Police, it was decided that we would move on to the Stonehenge Festival site on Saturday 12th June. We sited the medical services in the same position as last year, namely adjacent to the main road - giving us easy access and making it clear we were there to give a service but were not in any way part of the organization. When the whole medical encampment was established it was fenced off. (fencing courtesy of Mr. Morrison, Countess Farm, Amesbury). This gave us some privacy and also some security.
The level of staffing was
as last year in principle, namely, a duty officer (from Area Staff), a duty
nurse (qualified) and a duty driver. In addition to these by day 5 other St.
John Ambulance nembers and by night 3. This was felt to be sufficient and proved
to be so .
As in previous years it had been planned for one of the G.P.s from the Amesbury practise to hold a surgery every evening from 7 - 8 p.m this proved very satisfactory, with a total numbet of 110 patients being seen as temporary patients.
I am given to understand
that NO patients were seen by Doctors at the Amesbury Health Centre, so this
part of the planning worked well.
Another major asset was the loan of a radio telephone - thanks to Wiltshire Ambulance Service Station Superintendent M. Thompson. This offered us the facility of a direct line to Accident and Emergency Department. It also reduced the amount of time and energy in contacting Ambulance Control (White Control).
This years festival, in my opinion, has taken on a different look altogether. With a change in the weather - it was very wet - the type of patient we were treating was to a greater extent "ill", in previous years we were asked to treat much sunburn and hay fever, but due to the marked lack of sun this was less evident.
During the 14 days at "camp"~ we treated a total of 939 people, of which 33 were admitted to either Salisbury General Hospital or Odstock Maternity unit. In addition to this a baby girl was delivered on site on Thursday 24th June. Again, with the staff and facilities available to us we were able to vet all people attending prior to them being sent to hospital. All suturing was done on site, with exception of course to partial or complete arnputation - there were three of these.
During the 14 days on site
we this year made much more use of the field hospital, and a total of 100+ hours
we had patients "in bed". This I know enabled Salisbury Hospital to
patients earlier. This was especially applicable to the drug related problems. It was quite practical to do observations in the field hospital. In addition to last years services, we on two occasions had a dental surgery , when extractions and fillings were done. This helped to ensure that local residents health service facilities were not affected.
It was noted this year that there were more evidence of drug related problems. I am sure one of the main reasons for this was the availability of drugs, and to me some new ways of administration the same, "Hot Knives", being one example. The combining of one or more drugs did cause some concern. This presented signs and symptoms not encountered before, and I know this problem caused Accident and Emergency problems, when treating patients.
I feel sure that sooner or later we are going to encounter a fatality at Stonehenge - due to drug abuse. This year we came very close to this on at least three occasions. One in particular a 19 year old woman injected heroin intravenously, which caused a complete respiratory collapse, and whilst in transit to Accident and Emergency, she suffered a cardiac arrest. This was successfully resuscitated but indeed it was a close thing.
During the 14 days I feel
that pressure increased on our members with the type of patient attending, demanding
more trained skills, and I must say it has become very hard work. If it were
not for the fact that members of St. John gave their time voluntary - some even
gave their annual leave - it would be impossible to run this venture. Of course
the one exception being myself, I am, courtesy of Miss C.M. Jenner, the Chief
Nursing Officer given special leave.
My special thanks for their support in planning and supplying equipment go to : The Salisbury Health Authority Management team, Mr. D. Blackshaw, Senior Nursing Officer, Old Manor Hospital, Works Department, Old Manor Hospital, Station Superintendent M. Thompson - Wiltshire Ambulance Service, DRs. Batten, Smith, Twyman and Thompson and their trainees, Wiltshire Police and indeed the members of South Area St. John Ambulance.
My closing comments are,
Stonehenge Pop Pestival will I am sure , happen in 1983, and I believe all of
us should not bury our heads in the sand, but face up to this mammoth problem,
some planning should take place, the health of this indigenous population should
be taken seriously. A potential health problem sits on our door step. We must
David J Nobbs.
St John Ambulance Service