Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust has collaborated with Panasonic Toughbook and Telent to upgrade 800 service vehicles to deliver cost savings and minimise the time ambulances are off the road.

The critical communications upgrade will maintain the vital communications link between control rooms and ambulances.

Leanne Smith, director of digital (interim) at Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust (WAST), said: “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.

“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.”

Telent vehicle engineers will be integrating the devices and other components of the overall solution within the vehicles from Panasonic Toughbook’s European Configuration and Service Centre in Cardiff, South Wales.

They will be installing specialist equipment to replace the mobile data elements of the communications equipment onboard ambulances. The installation includes a vehicle data router and a fully ruggedised Panasonic Toughbook touch screen tablet device.

Crucially, the team will be ensuring there is no disruption to active operations.

Will Holmes, emergency services business manager at Panasonic Toughbook, explained: “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.”

The upgrade is needed for the National Mobilisation Application (NMA), a new and improved standard solution being deployed across all NHS ambulance trusts.

Welsh Ambulance Service’s volunteer Community First Responders were already using the NMA Lite app. However, new communication equipment for the Mobile Data and Vehicle Solution (MDVS) needed to be installed in to all ambulance service vehicles.

The project at Welsh Ambulance Service follows on from the successful delivery of the pilot deployment of the National Mobilisation Application (NMA) by Telent, as part of the Ambulance Radio Programme (ARP) for Yorkshire Ambulance Services.