Ambulance crews and staff will begin moving into a brand-new ambulance centre in Surrey next week.

The Make Ready Centre in The Horseshoe, Banstead, is on the site of the Trust’s former headquarters and is South East Coast Ambulance Service’s (SECAmb’s) first new-build Make Ready Centre in the county.

The development boasts a fleet workshop and the Trust’s Make Ready vehicle preparation system along with modern office space and rest and wellbeing facilities for staff.

SECAmb’s Make Ready Centres involve specialist teams of staff cleaning, restocking and maintaining the Trust’s fleet. SECAmb currently operates nine Make Ready Centres across its region with the Banstead centre following on from the opening of Brighton Make Ready Centre which became operational at the end of 2020.

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.

Service to the surrounding area is protected with the new centre supported by a network of Ambulance Community Response Posts (ACRP) at both existing ambulance stations and additional sites. The move brings the area in line with the system SECAmb already operated across much of its region.

The response posts have suitable rest facilities for crews between calls and when on a break.

As previously outlined, SECAmb has sold or is in the process of selling its Leatherhead, Redhill, Dorking and Godstone sites for redevelopment with response posts either retained on the current sites or moved to nearby locations in the towns.

Many of the Trust’s older ambulance stations are outdated and not always in the best location for current patient need.

Redhill ambulance station has been sold but will be retained as a response post until 2023 unless a suitable alternative is found in the town before next year. Leatherhead ambulance station has been sold and crews will move to a new response post, also in Kingston Road, later this summer. Godstone ambulance station has also been sold, subject to contract and planning permission. Crews will continue to use Godstone fire station as a response post while a search for a larger site continues and crews are due to begin using a further ACPR at Oxted fire station from the autumn.

Epsom and Dorking ambulance stations remain as response posts. The Trust also has a response post at Surrey Fire and Rescue Headquarters in Reigate.

Staff from Redhill Ambulance Station will move into the new centre on Monday (16 May) with their colleagues joining them in staggered moves throughout the week.

SECAmb Operating Unit Manager for Gatwick & Redhill, Paul Fisher said: “It’s great that the new centre is becoming fully operational. The new premises will provide staff with a modern building and bring this part of Surrey in line with the way in which we operate across the majority of our region including the neighbouring Gatwick area.

“The public should be reassured that we are protecting the service we provide to the surrounding towns by operating from response posts at existing and new sites. I would like to thank everyone involved in this exciting project which will improve the way we operate and I look forward to seeing staff make it their home over the coming weeks.”

What is Make Ready?

Make Ready Centres house specialist teams of staff employed to clean, restock and maintain the Trust’s fleet.

  • 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.