Artists impression - for illustrative purposes. Subject to change

Construction work has begun on what will become South East Coast Ambulance Service’s (SECAmb’s) first purpose-built Make Ready Centre in Surrey.

Foundations are being laid by the Sunninghill Construction Company at SECAmb’s former headquarters site which is expected to become fully operational in Spring 2022.

The development will boast a fleet workshop and SECAmb’s Make Ready vehicle preparation system along with a modern, office space complete with meeting rooms and rest and wellbeing facilities for staff.

SECAmb will continue to work closely with Sunninghill as the works develop and would like to thank the pupils of Banstead Infant School who have worked with the contractor to colourfully decorate the site hoardings.

It is intended that ambulance crews currently starting and ending their shifts at Epsom, Leatherhead, Redhill, Dorking and Godstone ambulance stations will instead start and finish at the new centre.

As previously outlined, SECAmb has begun marketing its Leatherhead, Redhill, Dorking and Godstone sites for potential sale and redevelopment. The Trust will continue to lease Epsom Ambulance Station until the new centre is operational.

Ambulance crews will continue to respond from their current bases until the new development is fully operational. The Trust will continue to provide a responsive service to all the towns by introducing a number of ambulance community response posts, bringing the area in line with the system SECAmb already operates across much of its region.

The response posts would have suitable rest facilities for crews between calls and when on a break. They will either be on the site of current ambulance stations or at nearby locations which match patient demand.

SECAmb Operating Unit Manager for Gatwick & Redhill, Paul Fisher said: “I’m delighted that, following a period of demolition, construction has now formally begun on this important Trust development. The new centre will ensure we modernise this part of our estate which is either in the wrong location or, because of its age, requires significant maintenance.

“This will bring this area in line with the majority of SECAmb’s region, including the neighbouring Gatwick area and I’d like to reassure the public that we will protect the service we provide to the surrounding towns with response posts located to match patient demand. I look forward to seeing the development progress in the coming months ahead of staff moving in next year.”

What is Make Ready?

Make Ready Centres house specialist teams of staff employed to clean, restock and maintain the Trust’s fleet. SECAmb currently operates nine Make Ready Centres across its region with Brighton Make Ready Centre the most recent to become operational at the end of 2020.

  • The Make Ready initiative significantly enhances and improves the service SECAmb provides to the community.
  • It minimises the risk of cross-infection, frees up front-line staff – who traditionally cleaned and re-stocked ambulances – to spend more time treating patients, and keeps vehicles on the road for longer.
  • The system ensures that specially-trained operatives regularly deep-clean, restock and check vehicles for mechanical faults.
  • Make Ready Centres are supported by a network of Ambulance Community Responses Posts (ACRPs) across the area.
  • During shifts, staff will respond from the ACRPs which will provide facilities for staff. These are located based on patient demand.
  • Crews are expected to continue to respond from the same towns under the system but begin and end their shifts at staggered times with a vehicle that is fully prepared for them.
  • The system ensures crews have access to improved training facilities and opportunities and increased support from managers.