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Trust board approves Make Ready and HART plans for Ashford

Press release - 11 June 2010

South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust’s (SECAmb) Board has approved the first phase for plans to create a Make Ready Depot and HART (Hazardous Area Response Team) base in Ashford, Kent.

The approval confirms SECAmb’s commitment to improving quality of care and patient safety.

Make Ready is an award-winning initiative which sees specialist teams of staff clean, restock and maintain vehicles. This will free up frontline clinicians, who have historically undertaken these tasks, to spend more time treating patients.

The Make Ready Depot will also serve as the permanent base for SECAmb’s first Hazardous Area Response Team, (HART) – a team of clinicians who have been specially recruited and trained in the use of specialist equipment and vehicles. This will enable them to safely treat patients in the ‘hot zone’ at major incidents or in hazardous conditions.

The first phase involves the purchase of the land for the depot and the submission of a planning application. Phase two will see the implementation of HART at the site and the third phase will be to introduce the Make Ready system to the site, subject to further Board approval.

The Make Ready initiative involves all emergency ambulances being cleaned, maintained and stocked to a set standard at the beginning and end of every shift as well as occasionally during a shift if required. (See notes to editors for information)

The state-of-the-art depot will support the staff and vehicles currently located at:

  • Dover
  • Folkestone
  • Ashford
  • Lydd

Staff will start and end their shift at the new depot and during their shift will be responding from a network of ambulance community response posts situated across the area.

These are buildings which have full facilities, providing staff with a stopgap when they are not responding to patients.

The location of these ambulance community response posts will be linked directly to patient demand to ensure we can reach patients as quickly as possible.

Many of the Trust’s ambulance stations, which were built more than 30 years ago, are no longer in the best place to provide a timely response to patients.

Some of the existing ambulance stations which are in the right locations to best meet patient demand are likely to be retained as ambulance community response posts.

The future of other stations which are poorly located to meet the needs of patients will be considered on an individual basis.

No changes will be made to existing stations until the relevant ambulance community response posts are up and running, therefore protecting the delivery of frontline services to patients.

The Trust has submitted a planning application to build on a site in Orbital Park, Southern Orbital Road, Ashford.

SECAmb’s Director of Technical Services and Logistics, Geoff Catling said: “Make Ready will really improve the service we provide to patients.

“It will mean dedicated staff will be doing the job of making sure ambulances are clean and fully stocked - leaving our clinicians to respond to and treat patients.

“We recognise people may have questions about what Make Ready in Ashford will mean to them, so we are going to hold a number of public and staff engagement events to explain in more detail what we plan to do.”

SECAmb’s HART will be officially launched and begin its role in July this year. The team will be based at a temporary site in Ashford until the new site is up and running.

The Trust plans to create 12 Make Ready depots across the SECAmb region by 2016.


Notes to editors:

SECAmb’s ‘Make Ready’ initiative ensures vehicles are regularly deep-cleaned, restocked and checked for mechanical faults.

The ‘Make Ready’ initiative sees specially trained non-clinical staff dedicated to the preparation of ambulances and other response vehicles for a shift on the road.  The vehicles are:

  • regularly deep-cleaned and swabbed for the presence of micro-organisms including MRSA and CDiff
  • fully stocked to a standardised specification with drugs and equipment that might be needed in a medical emergency. Equipment will also be checked and serviced regularly
  • checked for mechanical faults and potential problems on-site by vehicle maintenance experts to reduce the risk of breakdown.

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