Ambulance radios helping save lives

Ambulance radios helping save lives

EMERGENCY patients in Essex are benefiting from faster ambulance response times thanks to a pioneering communications system, which will be rolled out across the country.

The Airwave digital radio system was installed in 220 ambulances, rapid response vehicles and patient transport vehicles in Essex to improve the quality of voice calls with the communication centre.

Now it has been piloted by the East of England Ambulance Service it will go live nationwide in 18 months.

Paramedic Steve Heard, an operations manager for the service, said: “When dealing with an incident, big or small, the availability of information can have an incredible impact on our effectiveness.

“Using Airwave enables us to process and share information more quickly and accurately.

“We have only had positive feedback from our crews, who have already noticed the improvement Airwave is having on our operations, where saving time can mean saving lives.”

The system was designed with emergency services in mind and uses a radio network called Tetra, making it completely secure so calls are confidential.

It has been perfected to work during major incidents when mobiles and phone networks may fail.

Quentin Armitage, the Department of Health’s implementation director for the radio scheme, was pleased with the feedback.

He said: “The lessons we have all learned from the roll-out in this pilot area will help ensure successful delivery of the programme nationally.

“Ultimately better communications for the ambulance service will enable them to continue improving patient care.”

8:23pm Tuesday 28th August 2007

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