Welsh ambulances adopt Tetra system in £32m deal

The Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust has signed a £32m contract with O2 Airwave to get on the same communications network as all other UK emergency services.

The Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust has signed a £32m contract with O2 Airwave  to get on the same communications network as all other UK emergency services.

Under the 10-year Welsh contract, O2 Airwave and its partner SunGard Vivista will supply a range of products and services.

This includes supplying radio terminals to ambulance staff, providing integrated communications control systems (ICCS) for three control rooms, and installing radios in 827 vehicles, including 454 emergency vehicles and three helicopters. A third of the fleet will have data terminals as well as voice connections.

The roll-out in Wales has two implementation phases across its three service areas. The first phase starts in April 2007, the second phase commences June 2007, and both are due to complete early 2009.

The new digital technology will provide the Welsh Ambulance Service with further tools to improve response times through status messaging, alert paging, resource/incident location and mobilisation messaging.

The Airwave system, which is Tetra-based, enables paramedics and control room operators to talk directly with police and other Airwave users at the scene of an incident when it is operationally beneficial.

Welsh health minister Brian Gibbons said, "The new communications system will provide far greater radio coverage across Wales, compared with about 65% at the moment.

"This will help the control rooms keep in touch with the crew and will enable the Trust to become more efficient and effective in deploying its resources, which will ultimately improve response times and patient care.”

Munich Airport goes for Tetra comms system

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