Eight hundred ambulance service vehicles across Wales are undergoing a major communications refresh thanks to a collaboration between the Welsh Ambulance Service (WAST), Telent and Panasonic TOUGHBOOK.
The communications rollout started in May 2023 in Caernarfon, North Wales and will maintain the important communications link between control rooms and ambulance service vehicles, with the local collaboration bringing cost savings and minimising the time ambulances are off the road. The vehicle upgrades will take place at Panasonic TOUGHBOOK’s European Configuration and Service Centre in Cardiff, South Wales and WAST’s facility in North Wales.
“It is vital that our ambulance service vehicles have reliable and unfailing communications around the clock to effectively undertake our daily duties for our communities,” said Leanne Smith, Director of Digital (Interim) at WAST.
“The collaboration with Panasonic and Telent ensures the communications equipment refresh is completed locally, minimising the cost and downtime of the vehicles that would otherwise have had to be transported outside of the region for operational space.”
Telent will install the new specialist equipment as part of the Mobile Data and Vehicle Solution (MDVS), which is replacing the mobile data elements of the communications equipment within ambulances. The upgrade will enhance communications for frontline ambulance workers and the MDVS installation includes a vehicle data router and a fully ruggedised Panasonic TOUGHBOOK touch screen tablet device.
“We know what a fantastic job emergency services teams perform across Wales and we are pleased to play our role in helping the Welsh Ambulance Service continue to deliver high quality services for their communities,” said Grant Cowans, Head of Operations (Ambulance Radio Programme) at Telent.
“This project follows our successful delivery of the pilot deployment of the National Mobilisation Application (NMA) as part of the Ambulance Radio Programme (ARP) for Yorkshire Ambulance Services.”
The Panasonic team will assemble the TOUGHBOOK devices at the Cardiff facility with Telent integrating these and other components of the overall solution within the vehicles. Key components of the devices have been sourced from local suppliers across Wales. Panasonic’s facility will be staffed by Telent’s experienced vehicle engineers, with the team ensuring the vehicle upgrades do not disrupt active operations.
“The challenge for WAST was the potential disruption to operations while the vehicle upgrades take place,” said Will Holmes, Emergency Services Business Manager at Panasonic TOUGHBOOK. “Our state-of-the-art Cardiff facility is the ideal location to help speed up the process and enable vital equipment to be available with the minimum downtime.”
The upgrade is needed for the NMA software, a new and improved standard solution that is being deployed for all NHS Ambulance Trusts. WAST was already using the NMA Lite app for its volunteer Community First Responders, but new communication equipment for the MDVS needed to be installed into all ambulance service vehicles.
“ARP is pleased to see that collaboration between Panasonic and Telent will support the implementation of the Mobile Data and Vehicle Solution into Wales,” said Duncan Bray, ARP Director. “This is a prime example of collaborative working benefitting everyone involved.”