Paramedics serving the Horsham and Crawley areas will begin operating out of a new base in Crawley next week (Monday April 18).
The new ‘Make Ready Centre’ in Faraday Road, Northgate, will become fully operational by the end of April.
From Monday, Horsham staff will begin shifts at the new centre with crews from Horley and Crawley joining their colleagues on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.
A spokesperson for South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) said the new centre would bring many benefits.
It will minimise risk of cross-infection, free up front-line staff who historically have cleaned and restocked ambulances to spend more time treating patients, and keeps vehicles on the road for longer.
The centre will be supported by a network of Ambulance Community Responses Posts (ACRPs) where there are facilities for staff.
Current ambulance stations in Horsham, Crawley and East Grinstead will serve as response post sites along with an ACRP already serving as such in Horley, thus protecting the delivery of services to local communities, SECAmb said.
The spokesperson said that within the new system, staff are also able to return and pick up a ‘Made Ready’ vehicle during their shift should they need to. This would ensure they can begin to respond to emergencies more quickly than in the past when they would have to clean and restock their vehicles themselves.
The centre will not only serve as a place where ambulances are ‘made ready’ for crews but will also provide the regional home for the HART (Hazardous Area Response Team), which is currently based in temporary premises near Gatwick.
The site will also provide modern training and meeting facilities.
SECAmb paramedic and operating unit manager Peter Radoux said: “A great deal of work has taken place ahead of the centre becoming operational and we’re looking forward to welcoming the first crews into the system on Monday morning.
“Make Ready ensures we have a system in place where our staff are spending more time doing the job they are trained to do – treating patients.
“Crews will still respond from the same towns under this system but will begin and end their shifts at staggered times at the new centre with a vehicle prepared for them that is fully operational.
“The purpose of the new system is to minimise the time when crews are not available to respond to patients. The modern facilities the new centre provides will also ensure crews have access to improved training opportunities and greater management support.”
Paramedic and SECAmb HART Manager Neil Harrison added: “We’re pleased the trust has secured a permanent base for the Gatwick HART team.
“The centre provides the facilities the teams need to respond to calls across the region as well as the space for essential training linked specifically to the HART role.”
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