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The Welsh Ambulance Service Trust (WAST) is upgrading the communications technology in hundreds of vehicles with local technology installation, avoiding major disruption to life-saving services.
Work on the project began in May 2023, with a collaboration between mobile hardware maker Panasonic Toughbooks and communications supplier Telent supporting the technology that provides communication between control rooms and emergency vehicles. This is to meet the NHS Ambulance Radio Programme’s (ARP’s) Mobile Data and Vehicle Solution (MDVS).
ARP was commissioned by the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives and the Department of Health and Social Care to replace the existing mobile communication systems with new digital services at all Ambulance Trusts in England. The replacement system, known as MDVS, is now being rolled out within all English Ambulances.
“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, interim director of digital 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.”
To this end, WAST is upgrading communications the 800 vehicles in Panasonic Toughbook’s operation in Cardiff in South Wales, which will also house Telent engineers, as well as in its own facility in North Wales.
Will Holmes, emergency services business manager at Panasonic Toughbook, said: “The challenge for WAST was the potential disruption to operations whilst the vehicle upgrades take place. 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.”
While Panasonic will provide a Toughbook touchscreen tablet device, Telent will supply the technology to replace the mobile data elements of the communications equipment within ambulances.
The upgrade is needed for the Welsh Ambulance Service to be able to move to the National Mobilisation Application, the new standard being deployed for all NHS Ambulance Trusts.
Duncan Bray, director at ARP said: “[The organisation] is pleased to see that collaboration between Panasonic and Telent will support the implementation of the (MDVS) into Wales. This is a prime example of collaborative working benefitting everyone involved.”
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