Over 95% of staff that completed the survey had driven the new 6 speed ambulance and of these 330 (57.29%) found the driving position to be good or excellent. The reasons why 206 did not find the seating position satisfactory has yet to be established. 393 members (68.23%) indicated that they use the semi-automatic gear shift system with 232 (49.05%) making use of the manual change facility either regularly on most or every journey.

With regard to the forward illumination while driving at night time, 324 members (56.25%) indicated that the considered the headlights to be good or excellent. When asked about the emergency blue lights 478 members (82.98%) indicated that the headlights were good or excellent and that 485 (84.29%) used the low power setting. Just 8 members (1.39%) indicated that they did not know about the low power setting. When asked about the emergency sirens, 436 (76.22%) indicated that the sirens were good or excellent.

In response to “tea room chatter” about the MDT system, members were asked for their opinion about the MDT fixed positon and 403 members ((69.97%) indicated their dissatisfaction with its fixed position; 365 members (63.37%) also indicated that they had experienced issues with the MDT system. 467 members (81.08%) had experienced problems with MDT not sending data after signing on for duty and 413 members (73.36%) indicated that they had experienced problems with either sending or receiving data, for example inside depots.

Over 90% of the staff which responded to the survey indicated that they made use of the brightness and volume controls on MDT.  Just 265 members (46.82%) had positive views about incorporating the reversing camera into MDT and 375 members (66.25%) had experienced issues with the reversing camera.

“Sally Sat-Nav” only received a positive response from 162 members (28.37%); 186 members (32.40%) had experienced being sent along a route which included a low bridge which they could not pass under, 180 members (31.80%) had encountered a weight restriction which stopped them, and 264 members (46.32%) had encountered a width restriction which had stopped them.  It is evident that “Sally Sat-Nav” is not configured to include ambulance height, width or weight and given that ambulance crews are now deployed to any location in the six counties, local knowledge is lost and crews would benefit from a HGV style navigation system.  

Following the upgrade to the step treads, 321 members (56.62%) indicated satisfaction with the new tread pattern.


With regard to the tail lifts: a disappointing 472 members (83.10%) indicated that they did NOT check the tail lift had been serviced or was in date at the start of their shift; and 358 members (62.70%) did NOT deploy and lower the tail lift at the start of the shift. Whether this was lack of time allowed is not clear. 396 members (69.35%) indicated they had been trained in the use of the new Ferno Tracked carry chair but 317 members (62.77%) indicated a less than positive response.

Just 211 members ( 39.81%) members gave a positive response about the planned position for the Corpul3 Defibrillator with 284 (50.45%) giving the ventilator position the thumbs up. The same could not be said about the position of the suction unit with 415 members (73.19%) indicating it was not best placed. The position of the clinical waste bin polled a less than positive response by 411 members (72.24%) and the general waste bin location gained a less than satisfactory response by 407 members (71.71%). It would appear that the position of the bins should be swapped.

The previous two drawers were changed into one deeper drawer to accommodate the drug bags, however just 216 members (38.71%) gave this a positive response, while 283 members (51.54%) gave the Morphine storage a positive response. The staff response to the oxygen and Entonox storage locker was split 275 (48.59%) positive as opposed to 291 (51.41) less so. This may have been due to the issue surrounding access to the cylinder gauges which has since been resolved.

The position of the ePCR docking unit polled favourably by 245 members (43.14%) and 412 members (72.53%) gave a positive response to the reflective markings on the ambulance side panels. This contrasted starkly with 547 members (78.42%) giving a less than favourable response about the storage arrangements for their PPE.

With regard to the checking of tyres during the mandatory roadworthy checks: 252 members (44.13%) indicated they had access to tyre pressure gauges at their base station, but  only 173 members (30.67%) had been trained in the use of their tyre pressure gauge, while just 37 members (6.61%) indicated that their tyre pressure gauges were calibrated and in-date.

Finally, 324 members (56.84%) indicated that their ambulances were cleaned by Vehicle Cleaning Operatives (VCO’s) while just  188 members (32.98%) indicated that their ambulances were prepared by Ambulance Fleet Assistants (AFA’s).


Jeff Pittman

East of England Ambulance Unison 20106

Branch Health & Safety Officer

8 July 2015