Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust has taken delivery of a bespoke electric vehicle for transferring trauma patients from their Air Ambulance landing site on the sports field of the adjacent Copleston High School to the Emergency Department.
The vehicle, supplied by mygolfbuggy.com based at Selston near Nottingham, is a bespoke stretcher carrier based on the chassis of an all-electric E-Z-GO TXT golf car and has been specially designed to transfer patients more quickly so that they can receive the care they need as fast as possible.
The innovation comes after a former member of staff with the Emergency Department recognised the 400-metre transfer from the East Anglian Air Ambulance landing spot could be improved and made smoother for patients.
After fruitless conversations with a major car manufacturer, he resorted to the Internet looking for golf buggy suppliers. mygolfbuggy.com topped the list and a solution became apparent after a conversation about the hospital's requirements with golf car distributor's managing director, Rob Stanford.
During the next few months, various ideas were discussed and eventually an approved design agreed upon. It involved customising an existing E-Z-GO TXT golf car, installing a flatbed with padded mattress for the casualty and a seat for the paramedic or doctor conducting the transfer. Storage cabinets for medical equipment were also incorporated into the design.
The project has been funded by the HELP (Hospital Emergency Landing Pad) charity, with contributions from mygolfbuggy.com and Ransomes Jacobsen, the UK distributor of E-Z-GO golf cars, situated just over a mile from the hospital.
Heidi Warner, Operations Lead for the Emergency Department at Ipswich Hospital, said: "We are delighted with this bespoke vehicle, which is allowing us to transfer critically-ill patients into our Emergency Department quickly, safely and comfortably. As well as making the journey from the sports field smoother, the buggy has also helped shave vital seconds off the time it takes to get patients into the building, which ultimately means they can start receiving the care and treatment they need, more quickly. We are very grateful to everyone who has supported this project. It promises to make a big difference to some of our patients who arrive at hospital in the greatest need."
Alastair Wilson, Medical Director with the East Anglian Air Ambulance, said: "This is an excellent step forward in shaving off vital minutes in getting a critically-ill patient to the hospital's Emergency Department. Every second counts and can make a difference to a patient's recovery."
Mike Gooch, Emergency Planning Manager at the Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group concluded saying: "Ipswich is one of only four hospitals in the country with an Emergency Department rated as outstanding by the Care Quality Commission. We are always looking at innovative ways of improving patient care and this clearly demonstrates that desire."