from the FWS St Johns Ambulance report 1983
Stonehenge Free Festival, Midsummer Solstice, 1983
Planning for the 1983 Pop Festival Medical Services commenced in January, as it was envisaged that some changes would be appropriate. I refreshed my mind by referring to last year's reports and casualty lists and then discussed with the other organisations how we should set up this year's services.
One of my main objectives was to attempt not to increase, but if possible ! Reduce the general size of the medical set up.. With hindsight this was not a good idea - the festival as we all know was much larger than in previous years and to say we were stretched at times is an understatement.
The main shortcoming this year was the fleld hospital marquee. - we were unable to nurse the number of patients as in previous years. It was planned to have only one ambulance on site, but within two days it was obvious that this was not sufficient. This was supplemented by a second ambulance from Salisbury Division. It was also planned to reduce the length of stay if possible. This we did, but after the event it was noted that other support services were left with con-siderable medical problems.
We moved onto the Stonehenge Pop Festival site on Wednesday 15th June 1983
after consultatfon'with Amesbury Pollce, setting up our camp consisting of a Mobile First Aid Unit from Salisbury Division;Ambulance from Warminster Division,Caravan and Awning from Amesbury Division and staff caravan from South Area.
The usual generator was loaned by Salisbury Health District. Radio communications were courtesy of Wiltshire Ambulance Service, complemented by the most valuable new St John Ambulance radios.
Once we had everything ship-shape, we erected our customary fencing (courtesy of Mr Morrison - Countess Farm), giving us a degree of seclusion and also helped wlth security.
From the moment we arrived, customers began to present themselves for treatment, and it became apparent very quickly that to have reduced our staffing levels would have been disastrous. We were able to maintain levels of 8 staff per day and 6 by night. This will indeed have to be reviewed for next year.
As in previous years, a petrol account was opened at High Post Fillling Station for ambulances. Provisions were purchased from Amesbury Co-op, with drugs and dressings from Humes Chemist, Amesbury.
Stonehenge 83 was incredibly hectic. Considering the Field Medical Services were only in situ for 10 days, in excess of 2,000 patients were treated.
One thing that we in St John have lived in dread of was the possibility of fire - this became a reality this year, and the burns we encountered were horrific (I believe our members treated them with great skill and efficiency).
During the 10 day's stay we were (with some difficulty) able to maintain our staff consisting of : A Duty Officer; Duty Nurse; Duty Driver; and Duty First Aiders. One change we introduced was a work list; this was requested by our members during last year's follow-up meeting.
One improvement following this was putting a member on field duty. This meant, should there be a call for help in the field, a designated member would collect a crash box and hand radio. S/he would go to the patient, assess the situation and then radio for assistance if required This avoided sending an ambulance out into the densely populated field, very often taking a long time to find the patient. With the new system, patients received treatment quickly and then if an ambulance was required; it could be directed by radio to the patient.
The customary evening surgeries again proved very successful. The Doctors from the Amesbury Surgery have over the years been extremely supportive, and it is indeed reassuring to know that they will turn out to the site at any time of the day or night if required.
It was generally felt by all the members who worked at the festival that there was a friendly atmosphere throughout the medical unit.
It was encouraging to have visits from senior St John staff and also senior Health District Staff.
One major improvement which I believe should be pursued, is the installation of a temporary telephone, probably for the use of all welfare services. This would make communications so much more effective.
In conclusion, I would like to thank Miss C. Jenner, Chief Nursing Officer, Salisbury Health District; Mr D. Blackshaw, Director of Nursing 5ervices, Old Manor Hospital; Chief Inspector P. Bendry, Wiltshire Constabulary; Wiltshire Ambulance Service; Drs Batten, Smith' Thompson and Tayean of the Amesbury Health Centre; the Officers and Members of the St John Ambulance Divisions, South Area Wiltshire and all those who contributed with equipment or advice during this major event. Without help from all of these people , I would not have been able to organise and run this duty.