DORSET is "losing out" on an essential service for assault and accident victims, says a life-saving doctor.

The county does not have any doctors who help paramedics through the Basics scheme.

Hampshire Basics' Dr Phil Hyde, who saved the life of Lee Conway in New Milton, said: "I believe that the people of Dorset are losing out in having doctors going to the scene."

Mr Conway suffered a punctured lung on September 13. Dr Hyde treated him as a volunteer - because, unlike in Europe, doctors are not routinely sent to the scenes of injuries.

Hampshire has 20 voluntary Basics doctors and West Sussex has 19 - but Dorset has none.

Dr Peter Holden, from national Basics, said: "It is now 15 years since the BMA pointed out the benefit of a physician supporting an emergency crew, and 20 years since the Royal College of Surgeons did the same.

"Paramedics do a brilliant job in 95 per cent of cases. But there are a number of cases, notably those where somebody is trapped or where it will be a long time before they get to hospital, where they do need the support of a physician."

South West Ambulance Service chief executive Ken Wenman said: "I would welcome a Basics scheme in Dorset with open arms."

The Basics scheme needs volunteers to get it off the ground and charity support to keep it going.

A doctor needs around £35,000 worth of equipment.

Bournemouth councillor Nigel Cowley, a GP, said: "The costs of the service need to be considered. The funding could get out of hand really easily."

He said this was not an area in which he had expertise but added: "Certainly the evidence in towns is you need to get people into hospital as soon as possible "If I am in A&E, I bow down before the skills of paramedics when it comes to dealing with emergencies.

"There might be more need in rural areas."

Some Basics members are calling for government funding to make the service available everywhere.

Dr Diedre Dunbar from Hampshire Basics said: "We need state funding to end this postcode lottery."

Mr Wenman from South West Ambulance said whether the government should fund Basics was an issue for the Department of Health.

But Dr Peter Holden cautioned: "The price you pay for government backing is government interference and politicisation of the service."

He added: "Government statistics show serious injuries cost just under £200,000 while deaths cost more than £1.5 million. If you save just one person, that would put 10 people on the road for a year."