New ‘ambo-buggy’ arrives at West Suffolk Hospital

The West Suffolk Hospital will be able to provide more comfortable transport for its most critically unwell patients thanks to the donation of a new state-of-the-art medical buggy.

The medical vehicle, affectionately known as the ‘ambo-buggy’, was donated to the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT) earlier this month by The Help Appeal, a charity that provides funding towards helipad builds and associated equipment where and when it’s needed.

The buggy will be used to transport patients flown into West Suffolk Hospital by air ambulance to the hospital’s emergency department.

As a specially adapted medical vehicle, the buggy can host a stretcher and has seating for both the driver and the critical care team providing care to the patient.

Barry Moss, head of emergency preparedness, resilience and response for WSFT, said: “Whilst our helipad is located quite closely to our emergency department, for these often critically injured or unwell patients, reducing stress and improving comfort is really important.

“Previously patients would have been brought to the emergency department on a stretcher from the landed helicopter, which is time consuming, bumpy, and difficult to manoeuvre. Using this new medical vehicle we’ll be able to get patients into hospital care more quickly and more comfortably.”

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust works closely with local air ambulance charities, including the East Anglian Air Ambulance, Essex & Herts Air Ambulance, and Magpas; whilst the majority of critical care patients are brought into the Trust by land ambulance, escorted by the air ambulance critical care teams, the new buggy will help to provide a more seamless care pathway for those patients brought in by air.

The Trust was delighted to welcome Robert Bertram, chief executive of the HELP Appeal, to the Trust for the buggy’s delivery.

Robert said: “The HELP Appeal is a charity that helps critically ill patients receive the best pre-hospital care to allow the greatest chance of survival and recovery. The patient’s comfort and reducing the amount of time it takes to get to the emergency department are crucial and now this can be achieved at West Suffolk hospital with its new, state of the art, medical vehicle.

“Patients will now be transferred from the helipad to the expert care they urgently need, quickly and smoothly. We are delighted that the HELP Appeal could cover the entire cost.”

Barry added: “We’re incredibly grateful to the HELP Appeal for their generous donation. We want to do more work to develop our helipad capability in the future, and this is a fantastic first step.”

Photograph L-R: Barry Moss, head of head of emergency preparedness, resilience and response at WSFT; Robert Bertram, chief executive of the HELP Appeal; Helen Beck, chief operating officer at WSFT; John Earnshaw, assistant manager for portering services at WSFT; Darren Cooksey, security management specialist for WSFT; Caron Clare, representing vehicle supplier My Golf Buggy.