Today, Friday November 25, saw the official launch of the new SECAmb ‘make ready’ ambulance hub in Tangmere.
Aimed to save valuable time for front-line staff and to keep vehicles on the road for longer, the new hub will be serving the public across West Sussex.
A phased opening saw the first crews begin to report to the new centre in August.
While staff begin and end their shifts at the new centre, service provided to the region is maintained with operational staff responding from a number of dedicated Ambulance Community Response Posts, (ACRPs), across the region.
Regional operations manager, James Pavey said: “We used to have ambulance stations dotted around on cheap bits of land with very much a ‘make do’ spirit about them.
“Going way back they were just somewhere with a garage, whereas this is completely different.”
James continued: “All the staff report here at the beginning and the end of their shifts where they will pick up and ambulance that has been cleaned and stocked up by the make ready team, and then drop it off at the end of their shift.
“It saves valuable time rather than them having to clean it themselves, it is there and ready to go.
“The ambulances themselves are also much more reliable because they are being looked after better.”
James added that the building itself is very ‘green’, and even water collected on the roof is recycled.
Around 160 operational staff will be reporting to the Tangmere hub, which also includes a number of training and conference rooms.
When asked if there was any downsides to the hub, Pavey said: “Staff who has worked here for 20 years or more may have to adapt to a new style of working, and change can be difficult for some.
“But we are supporting our staff through this change and making sure the service is there and ready for the public.
“There may have been more ambulance stations before, but what is the point in having loads of stations where ambulances aren’t ready to go? It isn’t an ambulance station that is going to save a person’s life.”
Councillor Peter Budge attended the grand opening of the hub and said: “This is a wonderful thing to bring to the area and for the whole of West Sussex. “It is nice to see it all here – this hub is very much needed.
“They do so much hard work and I know my wife is very thankful to them.”
SECAmb has now developed five purpose-built make ready centres in Ashford and Paddock Wood in Kent and in Crawley, Polegate and Tangmere in Sussex. It also has make ready centres in Chertsey, Hastings and Thanet.