News in Brief – electric ambulances, calorie labels and a global pandemic radar

It has been another remarkably busy week for us here at Leading Healthcare towers. We’ve sent out our latest newsletter, published our weekly global health news roundup, and released more information on our forthcoming Forward Healthcare Awards – for which the dedicated awards page is now live. It is set to be our biggest event yet, so make sure to read up on what’s to come, after we round up the latest news you might have missed.  

Electric Ambulances piloted in the South Central region

South Central Ambulance NHS Trust announced last week that the first fully electric emergency response vehicles had entered the service. The two new Kia E-Niro cars produce zero emissions and contain all the equipment paramedics need to treat patients safely.  

The trust began looking at procuring fully electric vehicles in 2019 and the ambulance station has been fitted with a charging point to fully charge the vehicles while they are stationary.  

The first two vehicles are being used in a pilot scheme, with the progress of their operational capacity, benefits, and environmental impact closely monitored. If proven successful, more vehicles will be deployed to the trust in the future.  

Gregory Edwards, Vehicle Commissioning Unit Manager, South Central Fleet Services, said: “It was really exciting for my team and I to be given the opportunity to design the vehicles from the ground up, taking them from a standard electric road vehicle to an emergency response vehicle. 

 “There were a number of challenges we had to overcome, including ensuring the additional electric systems needed in an emergency vehicle wouldn’t drain the battery, emergency light fittings, weight and space limitations, but we’re really pleased with the end result and our operational colleagues can’t wait to get behind the wheel and take them out to help our patients.” 

Calorie Labels to be mandatory from spring 2022

To combat obesity, the government has announced that large businesses must display calorie labels on menus. The Department for Health and Social Care is behind the initiative.  

From April 2022, calorie labels on menus will be required to increase awareness around unhealthy food, and to tackle obesity.  

Public Health Minister, Jo Churchill, said: “Our aim is to make it as easy as possible for people to make healthier food choices for themselves and their families, both in restaurants and at home. That is why we want to make sure everyone has access to accurate information about the food and drink we order. 

 “These measures form an important building block in our strategy to support and encourage people in achieving and maintaining a healthier weight.” 

In a survey conducted by the home office, 79% of participants said they supported the change.  

Global pandemic radar launched by Prime Minister

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has announced a new scheme to help protect the UK against future pandemics. The Global Health Radar has been announced ahead of the Global Health Summit hosted by the EU and Italy this month.  

As part of the global surveillance, a new WHO infectious disease hub was built in Berlin to monitor the ongoing pandemic, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) spotted the Indian variant as it emerged in Europe.  

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO said: “The COVID-19 pandemic underscores the vital need for a robust, modern system to keep the world ahead of emerging diseases through active monitoring at the community level, swift and accurate sequencing of new pathogens, and data-sharing across the globe. 

 “The UK has set a strong example for pathogen surveillance and sequencing, as well as vaccine development. I am delighted that under PM Johnson, the UK will partner with WHO to contribute to stronger global surveillance and a safer world.” 

New health centre approved

A brand-new health centre based in Wiltshire has been given the green light for work to begin imminently and is set to open to patients next summer. NHS Property Services announced the news last week and the artist’s impression of the centre has been released to the public. 

The project will be overseen by NHS Property Services and has worked with Bath and Northeast Somerset, Swindon, and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, to get the project started. It is estimated to cost £10.9 million.  

Andrew Strange, Regional Partnership Director, NHS Property Services, said: “We are delighted that we are closer to delivering a modern healthcare facility that will enable the provision of excellent patient care to the community. We are delighted to see this project progress as it will undoubtedly enhance the experience of patients using it.”