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Redesigning the Ambulance – Project Nominated for Prestigious Award

The Royal College of Art Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design and Vehicle Design's Redesign of the Emergency Ambulance project has been selected as one of the nominations for the Design Museum Designs of the Year 2012 exhibition and awards in the Transport category.

The Design Museum’s Design Awards, ‘the Oscars of the design world’, showcase the most innovative and progressive designs from around the world from the last 12 months.

Building on six years of research, led by Ed Matthews, Senior Research Fellow Patient Safety and Healthcare, and Gianpaolo Fusari, Research Associate, the design project is set to improve the experience for patients and to create a better treatment space for staff.

Today’s ambulance crews are highly skilled professionals. They no longer merely transport patients to hospital but also diagnose and treat patients in often challenging conditions. Ambulances need to carry a wide variety of kit, while providing ambulance crews with enough space to work effectively. The new design and technologies will support and optimise their crucial work.

The design project began with the designers joining ambulance crews on callouts during 12-hour shifts. Key insights were translated into sketch designs, and a full-scale test rig was mocked up in cardboard and foam. Front line paramedics, clinicians, patients, academic researchers, engineers and designers then worked together in a co-design process to develop and evaluate proposals.

The ambulance redesign project has reconfigured the layout of the patient treatment space to achieve 360-degree access to the patient. This not only improves the clinical efficiency but also enhances patient safety. The new interior is also designed to be easy to clean, and modular equipment packs containing specific treatment consumables have been incorporated to aid in clinical performance, infection control and stock control.

The project team is currently working with commissioners, ambulance trusts and manufacturers to ensure that learning from the project can be implemented and will lead to quality and productivity improvements across the NHS.

The prototype can be seen at the Design Museum from 8 February – 15 July.