The UK’s leading full service, clinical provider of out-of-hospital healthcare has ensured that it is fit for the future by ordering a new fleet of 140 refrigerated Mercedes-Benz vans.
Healthcare at Home is the leading pan-European, insight-based managed medication service for complex medicines. Its unique offering supports better outcomes for patients by ensuring greater adherence to treatment, while relieving pressures on publicly-funded health systems.
The company operates from headquarters in Burton upon Trent, and a network of 14 locations. Its 1,500 staff, including nurses and pharmacists, support in excess of 180,000 patients nationwide.
Funded and fleet managed by Zenith Vehicle Contracts, Healthcare at Home’s new vans are being supplied by Dealer Rossetts Commercials. The first 100 are already on the road, with the remaining 40 scheduled to enter service by Christmas. All are Vito 114 CDI PURE L2 models with long bodies. Their 140 hp 2.1-litre engines drive the rear wheels – other Vito versions are available with front-wheel drive – and combine outstanding economy with well proven reliability.
As well as the reassuring armoury of safety aids for which the three-pointed star is renowned, Healthcare at Home’s drivers benefit from the vehicle’s standard-fit Active Parking Assist system, parking sensors and automatic headlights. Other features include a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gearshift selector, a comfort driver’s seat, heated and electrically adjustable exterior mirrors, and heat-insulating glass.
Insulation and dual-compartment conversions are by temperature-controlled vehicle applications specialist Coolertech, of Hailsham, East Sussex, while Cambridge-based Marshall Fleet Solutions supplies and installs the Thermo King refrigeration units.
Reflecting the sensitive nature of Healthcare at Home’s work, and its commitment to patient confidentiality, the vans do not wear any livery. They will be maintained by the most conveniently located Mercedes-Benz Dealers.
Healthcare at Home Head of Central Clinical Logistics Sandy Lalli commented: “We previously ran several different brands of vehicle from various providers, but this was presenting more of a challenge from a communications perspective. Following a review of our logistics function we therefore decided to replace the entire fleet, and to consolidate around a single van model and a more streamlined management system.”
Healthcare at Home’s new vans have chilled sections for carrying products at between 2oC and 8oC, while the ambient regime is from 15oC to 25oC. “Temperature control is crucial when you’re transporting pharmaceuticals,” explained Ms Lalli. “Mercedes-Benz vehicles are renowned for their reliability and the Vito L2 is the ideal size for our operation, while the refrigerated conversions we’ve specified will mean that patients receive their medicines and drugs in perfect condition.”
She continued: “It was imperative that our new vans should be maintained by official Mercedes-Benz Dealers. Their out-of-hours servicing capability allows for work to be undertaken overnight, so it has no impact on our operation. It is also reassuring to know that if we require emergency roadside assistance, the vehicle will be attended by a qualified Mercedes-Benz technician who fits only GenuineParts.”
The vans have been enthusiastically received by those who are using them. “The feedback from the team on the ‘front line’ has been overwhelmingly positive,” confirmed Distribution Manager Shaun Smith. “We adhere to a ‘one van, one driver’ policy, because this encourages colleagues to look after their vehicles, and ensure they are always clean and presentable. The three-pointed star is a byword for quality, and our new Vito fleet can only enhance Healthcare at Home’s corporate image.”
Mercedes-Benz Vans Strategic Account Manager Carol Kirk and Rossetts Commercials Business Development Manager Tracey Stewart worked closely with Ms Lalli, Mr Smith, and their colleagues, as well as the Zenith project team, to put together a package which is perfectly tailored to meet Healthcare at Home’s requirements.
“The support we’ve received has been first class,” added Ms Lalli. “Tracey has gone ‘above and beyond’ what we’d expect in visiting our sites every weekend as the vans have been delivered to ensure there are no issues, while Zenith is helping to establish relationships between our own teams out in the field and their local Mercedes-Benz Dealers.”
Find out more about Healthcare at Home www.hah.co.uk