Service Supports NHS Ambulance Service Response Times
A pilot scheme which saw ambulance crews use two Essex County Fire and Rescue Service fire stations as response hubs has proven so successful that it is being extended to a further five stations.
Chelmsford, Great Baddow, Braintree, Newport and Thaxted Fire Stations will be used as what the ambulance service describes as dynamic activation points.
The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) crews will be allocated an identified parking area located on ECFRS station premises between 6am and 2am. They will turn out during these times to emergency calls with an additional advantage of the crews being able to use fire station toilet facilities, rest areas and take on some light refreshments.
These new dynamic activation points have been chosen to help improve response times to patients.
An initial pilot at Frinton and Old Harlow has already proven successful. The pilot will now continue until the end of the year.
Assistant Divisional Officer Mark Wilby, ECFRS Project Manager, said: “The facility allows the ambulance service to have more people in the right places when they are needed and should get ambulances to people quicker. It has already been successful in the first two locations so now we are extending the scheme further across the county.
“Firefighters very often work alongside ambulance teams at the scene of road traffic collisions and by providing ambulance colleagues with a bolt hole, there will be the positive practical benefits but also the move should help to develop relationships on the ground and potentially lead to even greater understanding.
“The Service already shares facilities with partners and we are pleased to be able to build on our relationships and work more closely with other blue light colleagues in this way.”
Sandra Chick, EEAST Senior Locality Manager for Mid Essex, said: “This is a great opportunity, not only to improve response times but also in terms of expanding partnership working across the county and making the best use of resources.”
Ambulance crews will begin to share facilities on Monday August 17 as part of an extended pilot. If successful the two organisations will look to expand the arrangement further under more commercial terms, potentially as an income generation opportunity for ECFRS.