Additional vehicles targeted at lower priority calls will begin to respond to patients in the coming weeks following investment by South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb).
The Non-Emergency Transport (NET) vehicles, which will complement the trust’s emergency fleet, will begin to be rolled out across SECAmb’s region this month. A total of 30 Fiat ambulances are being refurbished and will be delivered, in a phased approach, to operational sites across the region at a rate of at least three a week.
All the vehicles are expected to be on the road by the end of February 2019 and are part of SECAmb’s plans to improve its response to patients not in a serious or life-threatening condition.
While the vehicles will be equipped with essential life-saving equipment, including a defibrillator, and be able to attend as a first response to life-threatening calls, they will be primarily targeted to respond to patients who have been assessed by a health care professional, such as a Paramedic or GP, and require non-emergency urgent transport to a healthcare facility with minimal clinical intervention.
The vehicles are in addition to more than 100 new vehicles, which have been in the process of being rolled out across the trust’s region at a rate of around four a week since the summer.
The vehicles will be crewed by Emergency Care Support Workers, alongside other non- registered clinicians such as Associate Ambulance Practitioners and Ambulance Technicians.
Joe Garcia, Executive Director of Operations, SECAmb, said, “This move is part of our work to ensure our fleet is appropriately set up to meet both demand and individual patient needs, following the introduction of new ambulance response standards last year.
“The vehicles will help us to better respond to patients in the community who, while not in a serious or life-threatening condition, nevertheless need an urgent ambulance response. The patients they will be targeted towards will have already been assessed by a registered health care professional such as one of our paramedics, a GP, hospital doctor or mental health clinician.
“We are confident that this, as part of a wider range of measures, including increasing the number of emergency vehicles and staff, will have a positive impact on our response time performance and benefit all of our patients.”