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A successful merger

The Emergency Bed Service (EBS) was founded in 1938 to help London GPs with patients needing to go into hospital quickly, but who could not find a bed locally. The service had various homes before becoming part of London Ambulance (LAS) in 1999.

In 2002, LAS called in Bardwyck to establish whether there was a future for the EBS and, if so, what it might be. Bardwyck revealed strong demand for a bed-finding service, not just handling London acute beds, but locating beds in specialist units throughout the country. The future for the EBS looked exciting provided that its infrastructure and processes were brought up-to-date. With updated operations, additional training for the staff, closer ties with the main 999 centre and a new, improved IT system, the EBS could provide the basis for a new emergency service that handled bed-finding and patient transport for all London healthcare professionals.

Looking forward, there was also potential to extend the new service, EBS First, to cover acute and specialist beds country-wide. This would not only fulfil a strong need across the NHS, but would help the LAS to follow government healthcare policy, supplement LAS’s staff with an experienced team of negotiators, contribute to LAS financially and underscore LAS’s position as the NHS’s foremost emergency service.

What Bardwyck found?

The EBS provided an excellent service, locating acute beds in London and some specialist beds elsewhere. There was huge potential to extend this service country-wide. However, because it had moved parent organisation several times and had never had complete autonomy, the EBS had historically been underfunded. Its IT infrastructure was distinctly outdated and its processes were almost entirely paper-based. The EBS’s highly qualified staff spent most of their time on routine administrative work whereas, with the right IT support, they could have been offering a wider range of high quality services.

What Bardwyck recommended:

  • EBS to become the LAS’s single point of contact for doctors and other healthcare professionals.
  • EBS to monitor London hospitals in order to direct ambulances to hospitals with available beds.
  • A modernisation programme that covered a complete overhaul of the EBS’s IT and HR infrastructures and marketing activities.

What Bardwyck supplied

The initial study took 30 weeks. Bardwyck was then retained for 18 months to manage the implementation of the new service. The project included the following Bardwyck services:

  • Introductory workshop
  • Strategy audit
  • Finance audit
  • Operations audit
  • IT audit
  • HR audit
  • Marketing audit
  • Round-up
  • Report
  • Implementation plan
  • Project implementation