NIAS expands control room to keep staff safe


The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service Health and Social Care Trust (NIAS) has installed a second control room at its Knockbracken Healthcare Park site in Belfast to help operators with social distancing during COVID-19.

According to a statement, this will ensure that no more than 20 of the 35 onsite control room staff will ever sit together at one time. Communications technology was supplied by Northgate Public Services who fast-tracked the project in collaboration with BT.

Speaking of the installation, Interim Director of Operations for NIAS, Robert Sowney said: “I would like to commend NIAS staff - as well as those of NPS and BT - for pulling out all the stops to deliver on what was a very challenging project in an unbelievably tight timescale.

“I would pay a special tribute to NPS staff who wouldn’t necessarily be seen as ‘frontline’ but were essential [during the project]. The input of BT was equally crucial. As an emergency service we have a long-standing relationship with them and we were not surprised, that, once again, they were able to deliver in the tightest of timescales.”

Ian Blackhurst, executive director public service solutions, at NPS, said: “We were more than happy to support NIAS in maintaining [its] excellent service to the public during these incredibly challenging times, while also providing protection and reassurance to the control room team. Creating a second control room to protect employees was the best option for the trust while ensuring no reduction in service provision or quality.”

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