Ambulance chiefs hope to build a Make Ready Centre – which keeps vehicles in tip-top shape – at Polegate.
South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) is soon to submit a planning application with Wealden District Council to create a purpose built Make Ready Centre on a site just off Cophall Farm roundabout.
The Make Ready system offers significant benefits for patients. Specialist teams are employed to clean, restock and maintain vehicles which means staff, who routinely undertaken these tasks, can spend more time treating patients.
If approved, the new centre will not only be a centre where ambulances are prepared for crews before every shift, it will also provide spacious and modern training and meeting facilities for staff.
SECAmb’s programme director for estates Geoff Catling said, “We want our staff spending more time doing the job they are trained to do – treating patients.
“You would not expect to see the pilot of an aircraft cleaning the plane before every flight and that is what we are looking to achieve with the Make Ready system.”
Under the Make Ready system vehicles are regularly deep-cleaned and swabbed for the presence of micro-organisms including MRSA and CDiff.
Each vehicle is fully stocked to a standardised specification with equipment checked and serviced regularly. To reduce the risk of vehicle breakdowns, on-site vehicle maintenance experts will be on-hand to undertake routine checks and maintenance.
As part of the move to introduce Make Ready Centres where staff will begin and end their shifts, during shifts staff will respond from a network of strategically-placed ambulance community response posts.
The posts will provide facilities for staff between emergencies and will be located in areas to ensure SECAmb reaches as many patients as quickly as possible.
Mr Catling said, “These posts will be located based on patient demand. Many of the Trust’s current ambulance stations were built more than 30 years ago and are not in the best position for responding to patients quickly.
“Improving patient outcomes and response times to patients requires our vehicles and crews to be where the public need them to be, when they need them; this is why you might see an ambulance on ‘standby’ in locations that are not ambulance stations because they are closer to patient demand.”
Decisions regarding the disposal or closure of ambulance stations will be made on an individual basis and on whether they are in the best locations to respond to patients. However, the closures or disposal of ambulance stations will only take place once a response post is operational – thus protecting and enhancing the service we provide to patients.
Mr Catling added, “The Trust has made a strong commitment to Make Ready which is vitally important to us providing an efficient and responsive service to patients.
“We recognised the Make Ready system will mean a change for staff and in the coming months and we will be looking to engage with them more about the changes.
“Engagement work has already taken place with local Health and Adult Social Care committees, which are fully supportive of Make Ready. As projects develop we will continue to engage with them on our plans.”
The Trust already has five Make Ready Centres in Ashford (Kent), Chertsey, Hastings, Paddock Wood and Thanet.