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An innovative “ambulance handover” facility is helping North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust improve patient experience

4 April, 2024
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Vanguard Healthcare Solutions provided an innovative “ambulance handover” facility to the North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, which has already supported more than 15,000 patients.

Press release

Vanguard Healthcare Solutions provided the North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust with an innovative “ambulance handover” facility helping the Trust to improve patient experience and allow for ambulance crews to be redeployed more efficiently. The Unit has already supported more than 15,000 patients.

The unit – a mobile ward - was created and installed by Vanguard Healthcare Solutions at Peterborough General Hospital. The ward, one of the Vanguard fleet of mobile healthcare solutions which also includes operating theatres and endoscopy suites, was initially due to be in place for six months to help the Trust tackle ambulance handover times when patients arrived at the emergency department over the winter of 2022-2023.

"This facility has made a huge difference. Since it opened in February 2023, more than 15,000 patients have been seen there. That is 15,000 people who may have had to wait longer to be admitted to the emergency department. It has allowed for ambulance crews to return to the road quicker and improved overall patient experience."
Ivan Graham, Divisional Nursing Director for Urgent & Emergency Care,

Such has been its success in helping reduce ambulance handover delays, the Trust decided to extend the time it would be on site to help create the best possible patient experience during the current winter months. 

The mobile unit is operating as an “ambulance decant” solution, helping reduce bottlenecks at the accident and emergency department and improve patient experience. It is stationed at the hospital’s ambulance arrival bay. It provides six beds or eight trolleys for patients awaiting admission to A&E.

The joint project between Vanguard and North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust has increased capacity in the emergency department at Peterborough City Hospital and has, at busy times, reduced the need for patients to remain being treated in ambulances while they wait to be seen in the emergency department. This has allowed ambulances and their crews to be available to respond to calls more quickly

This has allowed ambulances and their crews to be available to respond to calls more quickly.

Across the UK, admission delays at emergency departments and patients waiting on ambulances or in corridors are commonplace in winter. To help increase capacity at Peterborough as quickly as possible to alleviate and avoid these issues, the project was planned and mobile ward delivered within weeks.

After its installation, the mobile ward has acted as an ‘admission area’. It runs 24-hours-a-day and on arrival at the emergency department, patients are assessed on their suitability for admission to the mobile ward. The ward includes patient and staff facilities including toilets, changing rooms and medical gases to ensure it is clinically high quality, as well as comfortable.

“The emergency department staff and ambulance staff have worked well as a team in adapting to this new environment for our patients and staff. The Vanguard Unit is an interim solution until we have been able to extend our ambulance handover area, which we have already started work on, but it has been hugely beneficial.” Ivan Graham, Divisional Nursing Director for Urgent & Emergency Care.

Max Lawson, National Account Manager at Vanguard, said: “We are thrilled to know that the solution we have developed with the Trust is working so well. All across the country we read about patients who have had long waits to be seen. It is fantastic to know that one of our facilities is helping directly benefit so many people and helping ambulances respond to further calls as quickly as possible.”

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