Thursday 14th November 2013 – 10.20am – John Hawker.
Two new ambulance maintenance and preparation hubs are now operating in Coventry and Warwickshire as part of plans to overhaul and modernise the ambulance service in the area.
The new centres have been built in Ibstock Road, Coventry and in Tournament Fields, Warwick to house new offices, training rooms and fleet workshops. It has also become the base for a new team of dedicated Ambulance Fleet Assistants (AFAs) who clean, stock and prepare ambulances in readiness for the clinical staff. The AFAs also deal with any fleet issues during an ambulance crew’s shift, allowing the crew to continue with their work of looking after patients.
The hub in Coventry went live in late June and in Warwick in late August.
Ambulances are prepared at the hubs in time for the start of the crews’ shifts. They then disperse to stations around Coventry and Warwickshire from where they respond. West Midlands Ambulance Service has been reviewing its estate of traditionally owned ambulance stations which have been put up for sale to be replaced by new smaller Community Ambulance Stations (CAS) which will be leased rather than owned and which will be greater in number to further improve response times.
CAS’s have already opened in Canley, Nuneaton, Atherstone, Kenilworth, Stratford, Wellesbourne, Shipston, and Southam, with new CAS’s still being established in Rugby (North and South). There are also standby points in Binley, Foleshill, Redford, Bedworth, Warwick, Leamington and Alcester.
The system of the new hub and Community Ambulance Stations is known as ‘Make Ready’; implemented by the then Staffordshire Ambulance Service more than 15 years ago resulting it is becoming one of the highest performing ambulance services in the country with some of the fastest response times.
The level of ambulance service being provided in Coventry and Warwickshire is overall increasing with the introduction of advanced paramedics. Dedicated to their respective geographical areas, the advanced paramedics who carry the title of ‘Community Paramedic’ will have received additional training in advanced patient assessment and procedures. They are able to treat many more patients at the scene rather than having them conveyed to an A&E Department.
In addition to responding to 999 calls, the role of the ‘Community Paramedic’ will be to liaise with other areas of health and social care and ensure the population they serve receive the best health service possible while ensuring the ambulance service, through 999, is used appropriately.
Ham Patel, General Manager for Coventry and Warwickshire, said: “The move to the new hubs and response posts has gone very well. We are well aware that moves of this nature take a while to bed in and for staff to become comfortable in the new workplace. Hopefully staff are enjoying the brand new purpose built hubs which will hopefully make their lives easier in the long run. In turn, the make ready system being fully in place ensures that operational staff are treating patients whilst Ambulance Fleet Assistants clean and stock the ambulances to a high standard.”
Picture outside the new Hub in Warwick: L-R WMAS Chairman Sir Graham Meldrum, Paramedic Michelle Goodwin, Paramedic Tony Bell, Area Support officer Ben Lyons, Trainee Technician Kim Unitt, Trainee Technician Tom Haskins, Technician Suzanne Hudson, Ambulance Fleet Assistant Paul Rowlands.