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NHS and Ford Pilot Bespoke Transit Van To Deliver COVID-19 Vaccinations To All Communities

  • Bespoke Ford Transit COVID-19 vaccination vehicle set to bring mobile clinics to communities who are vulnerable to COVID-19 and those who might face barriers to accessing traditional healthcare services
  • Pilot scheme by Ford, the NHS in Essex and community leaders tackles access barriers where individuals have been or felt unable to attend a clinic
  • Ethnically diverse communities, those experiencing homelessness, travelling communities, vulnerable patients and unregistered patients among those to be supported by the initiative
  • Fully kitted out vehicle is designed to bespoke NHS specifications for safe transportation and administration of the vaccine

DUNTON, UK, May 6, 2021 – The NHS in Essex has teamed up with Ford and local community health leaders to roll out a vital initiative across Mid and South Essex, delivering COVID-19 vaccines to communities who are vulnerable to COVID-19 and those who might face barriers to accessing traditional healthcare services.

Despite the UK’s successful vaccine rollout, COVID-19 vaccine uptake is lower among some communities facing access challenges. Such communities include those experiencing homelessness, ethnically diverse communities, travelling communities and unregistered patients.

To help address this, a specially converted Ford Transit van will begin to travel across Essex from next month, as GP practices work together with local community leaders to safely deliver and administer vaccines in areas of low uptake.

The Ford Transit will be a hub for dedicated vaccine clinics in the grounds of churches, mosques and other community venues. The NHS and partners across the Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership will liaise with community leaders and groups to fill pre-booked appointments to rally and vaccinate as many people from the local communities as possible. 

Take-up of the vaccine has been exceptionally strong; 19 out of 20 people aged 50 and over have already chosen to take up the offer, which remains available. Additionally, the number of people from ethnic minority backgrounds coming forward has more than tripled over the last two months. The vaccine van initiative aims to help continue NHS efforts to administer COVID-19 vaccinations to as many people as possible.

The bespoke vehicle is based on a Ford Transit, the UK’s most popular commercial vehicle for 56 years, and has been converted by West Yorkshire-based specialist vehicle builders, Venari Group. The Transit’s specification includes medical grade refrigeration with WIFI monitoring capability, vaccine transport coolers, a collapsible chair for administering vaccines as well as an integrated tablet for accessing and updating health and vaccination records.

Mandy Dean, Director of Commercial Vehicles at Ford of Britain said: “Over the coming weeks, this Ford Transit will make some incredibly important journeys as a vaccination van. Working with the NHS and community leaders to deliver this brilliant scheme and bolster the exemplary vaccine rollout, has been a privilege. Full credit is due to our conversion partners at Venari Group, who continue to work with us to make thousands of life-saving vehicles for the emergency services every year.” 

Dr Smitesh Patel, Clinical Director at Benfleet Primary Care Network, Essex commented: “Our goal of giving everyone an equal opportunity to receive this essential vaccine is now in closer reach, owing to the additional support from our valued network of community leaders, Ford and Venari Group.

“This added mobility has meant the gap will be bridged for so many facing a struggle to visit their local vaccination centre. With this support, we enter an important chapter of our vaccine rollout with a renewed sense of hope and optimism.”

Oliver North, CEO at Venari Group said; “The departure of the completed vaccination van from our factory on to British roads is something of a historic moment for us. We have worked closely with Ford and the NHS in Essex to create such an important vehicle, which is set to make a big impact in the community.” 

The Ford and NHS Essex Vaccination Transit will take to the roads from early May. The programme will run as a pilot initially, with scope to increase the number of vehicles in the future and explore further outreach models in the future.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of Ford trucks, utility vehicles, and cars – increasingly including electrified versions – and Lincoln luxury vehicles; provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company; and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification; mobility solutions, including self-driving services; and connected vehicle services.  Ford employs approximately 186,000 people worldwide. For more information regarding Ford, its products and Ford Motor Credit Company, please visit corporate.ford.com.

 

 

Ford of Britain has been sales leader in the U.K. for passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles for 44 and 55 consecutive years respectively, with Fiesta being the country’s top-selling vehicle for the last 12 years. The U.K. is Ford’s third-largest global market and accounts for around 30 percent of total Ford vehicle sales in Europe. Ford is going “all-in” on electrification, with its passenger vehicle range moving to all-electric by 2030. Ford directly employs around 7,000 people in the U.K., with thousands more employed in its extensive dealer network. The Ford Britain Dunton Campus in Essex is the home of Ford’s European commercial vehicle business group, the Ford of Britain national sales company, Ford’s banking arm – Ford Credit Europe – and powertrain engineering. Around 85 percent of engines and all transmissions built in the U.K. are exported to more than 15 countries on six continents. Total value of Ford exports is around £2.5 billion annually.

 

About Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership

We all have a part to play in leading a healthier life and keeping well for longer.

Supporting our population to do this is at the heart of why the organisations responsible for providing health and care services in mid and south Essex have teamed up.

Our goal is to meet the increasing needs of our communities whilst ensuring our services provide the best possible care in the right place when you need it.

Working together our Partnership can make bigger investments, promote more innovation and achieve greater improvements in health and wellbeing than each of our member organisations would be able to achieve separately. Find out more about our work at www.msehealthandcarepartnership.co.uk

 

The Essex COVID-19 vaccine van is one of a number of initiatives to maximise uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine across Essex.  Other activities include:

 

  • Work with travelling, and homeless communi
  • Support has been provided to identify and encourage people who are carers to come forward.
  • Dedicated/small clinics are being codesigned with women supported by Womans refuges and work is underway to accommodate people with Learning Disabilities and mental health needs at again smaller dedicated clinics
  • Individual discussions are being held with people who are eligible for the vaccine but have not yet taken it up to understand what support can be offered
  • A dedicated telephone line and website have been established to provide advice and support for anyone who may have queries about access the COVID-19 vaccine in Essex. Residents across Essex can ring (0344 2573 961 (open 10am to 4pm, local rate)

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