South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) has teamed up with charity, the Jumbulance Trust, to adapt a vehicle to assist SECAmb with multiple patient transfers between hospitals as part of its Covid-19 response.

Traditionally the accessible holidays and travel charity uses its Jumbulance medically-equipped coach vehicles, which are fitted with stretchers, to give those with disabilities and severe illnesses, and other significantly dependent individuals, the opportunity to travel in safety and comfort across the UK and Europe.

SECAmb has commissioned the charity to provide a Jumbulance vehicle which it has adapted further to meet its specification. The charity will provide drivers for the vehicle, who have undergone additional training, while the vehicle will be crewed by critical care paramedics. The vehicle, which will be used in the coming weeks as required, will be able to transport up to five stretchered patients at a time – avoiding multiple trips by different ambulance crews.

The SECAmb adaptations include the fitting of a bulkhead aluminium frame to protect the driver, updating stretchers to Trust specification, sealing off all fabric surfaces so they can be easily wiped clean and for improved infection control, fitting a piped oxygen system and installing clinical waste bins and hand gel dispensers.

SECAmb Associate Director of Operations (Resilience), Ian Shaw said: “I am pleased that we have been able to work with the Jumbulance Trust and commission the charity to help with our Covid-19 response and prepare for the potential increase in demand. The role of these vehicles is usually very different and we are pleased that we have been able to adapt one of their vehicles to help with our response. I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in this important collective work to help patients.”

Jumbulance Trust Chair, Gill Berry added: “We are proud that Jumbulance Trust, a small volunteer-led charity with specialist vehicles and dedicated staff, can help SECAmb with multiple patient transfers. It is humbling for us to be able to give something back and use our resources in this way. I would also like to add a huge thanks to all involved for their commitment to making this happen.”