North West Ambulance Service’s new £2.7million state-of-the-artcontrol centre, located at Orbit Developments Parkway Business Parkin Manchester was opened by His Royal Highness The Duke ofGloucester on 10th May 2012.
The Duke met and talked to ambulance control staff, who lastmonth, moved to the centre from the old site in Belle Vue, that wasno longer fit for purpose. Following a tour of the facilities, HRHrevealed a commemorative plaque to mark the occasion.
The centre, which took 11 months to complete, marks a realmilestone for the ambulance service and brings together theemergency, urgent and patient transport control functions coveringthe entire Greater Manchester area.
Collectively the control function in Greater Manchester employsover 200 staff and last year answered some 426,365 emergency 999calls and managed 618,312 non-emergency patient journeys.
Around 8,000 hours of work went into the project which hasresulted in six different zones – 999 call taking, ambulancedispatch, NHS 111, Urgent Care, Patient Transport Service DayControl,Planning and call management and Major IncidentManagement.
The control centre creates the environment for the ambulanceservice to think differently about how it serves those in need. Inthe Urgent Care section for example, specialist paramedics callback less serious 999 calls and give a clinical assessment over thephone. The paramedics can then, if appropriate, refer patients toan alternative place for treatment, freeing up emergency ambulancesfor more serious incidents.
This is a significant move for the Patient Transport Servicecontrol function which was previously split between five sites.Establishing one contact centre in the Greater Manchester areabrings the area in line with the rest of the service in the NorthWest and has enabled new technology to be rolled out effectively,such as a computer aided dispatch system, automated vehicletracking and the digital radio system Airwave, to bring the servicein line with the emergency service.
Chief Executive at North West Ambulance Service, Darren Hurrellsaid: “Modern control rooms are the hub of ambulance services oftoday and play a vital role in ensuring that patients receive theright care, at the right time, in the right place.
“This investment not only provides a pleasant workingenvironment for staff, but also allows us to continue to progressthe way we deliver healthcare to our patients in the future,through functions which offer patients other appropriate carepathways such as NHS 111 and the Urgent Care Desk.
“We are very proud of the new development and are honoured thatPrince Richard took time to visit us.”
The facility at Parkway is shared with NHS Manchester.