Banstead Make Ready Centre artists impression (subject to change)

South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) plans to develop a new ambulance centre in Banstead, Surrey, are continuing to progress.

Demolition of the Trust’s former headquarters building has commenced ahead of construction work beginning on the site.

The development at The Horseshoe will be SECAmb’s first purpose-built Make Ready Centre in Surrey. Expected to be fully operational by Spring 2022, it will accommodate a fleet workshop and the Trust’s Make Ready vehicle preparation system along with a modern, open-plan office space complete with training, rest and wellbeing facilities.

It is the intention 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.

Ahead of the changes the Trust has recently begun marketing Leatherhead, Redhill, Dorking and Godstone ambulance stations for potential sale and redevelopment. SECAmb continues to operate from Epsom Ambulance Station on a leasehold.

Ambulance crews will continue to respond from the sites until the Banstead centre is fully operational. SECAmb is committed to providing a responsive service to the areas concerned with the introduction of a number of ambulance community response posts. This will bring the area in line with the system the Trust 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 am pleased that following a successful planning application, the plans to develop the purpose-built centre at Banstead are progressing well. This development is much needed and will ensure we modernise this part of our estate which is either in the wrong location or, being older, requires significant maintenance.

“While we are moving to this new way of working, in line with much of our region including our neighbouring Gatwick area, the public should be reassured that we will protect our response service to the towns concerned by introducing new ambulance response posts located to match patient demand. We also appreciate that any change has an impact on staff and we will continue to engage with them ahead of the go-live 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.