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The West Midlands Ambulance Service brought in a brand-new fleet manager two years ago and gave him the task of reducing vehicle downtime and improving efficiency and patient care. The NHS Foundation Trust serves more than 5 million people covering a total area in excess of 5,000 square miles. With that much ground to cover and fewer resources at his disposal, it was up to new fleet manager Tony Page to make the best of what he had to work with.

A year later, the ambulance service was named the 2014 public-sector van fleet of the year at the annual Fleet Van Awards. They have both Page and his implementation of commercial fleet principles to thank.

Page came into his new position with plenty of experience in the commercial sector. As such, he immediately began implementing proven principles and methodologies known to work for commercial fleet operators. For example, he introduced the idea of making data-driven decisions based on specific performance goals. Once goals were clearly established, the ambulance service could then monitor data generated by their operations to make necessary changes.

The types of changes they implemented were not related to things such as van driver training procedures. They are what they are. Rather, the service started working on things like route scheduling, turnaround time, per-mile operational costs, procurement procedures, and so on. The idea was to get the most out of every pound, in the same way a budget conscious business does.

Page also implemented a new software system that improved fleet management with the use of telematics and CCTV cameras. The service will be putting two training units on the road later this year along with more than 100 new technology equipped ambulances. Each of the vehicles will generate even more data, which will be used to streamline the Trust further.

Team Participation

At the centre of the Trust’s success is team participation among staff that is supportive of the changes Page has made. From individual van drivers to office staff to management, everyone sees the commercial focus as a benefit to the service the Trust provides.

We think it is great to see the West Midlands Ambulance Service being willing to apply commercial principles in order to improve efficiency and service. We hope they apply their new business model to van driver training as well. A properly trained driver is one who is exceptionally capable of working with the Trust’s vehicles to deliver safe and prompt service at all times.

The HGV Training Centre offers van driver training for both ambulances and delivery vehicles. Each requires a different kind of training due to the different work involved, but both types of training can be completed in a matter of just a few weeks. Students successfully completing our van driver training are more than ready to be productive members of the workplace.

We provide individual and fleet training for all classes of commercial vehicles. Contact us for more information at your leisure.

Sources:

Commercial Fleet – https://www.commercialfleet.org/fleet-management/van-fleet-profile-west-midlands-ambulance-service/55101/

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