The Trust has taken on 19 vehicles on a contract hire basis, ranging from small car-derived vans to staff shuttle buses, tippers, Lutons and box bodied trucks. The vehicles are used for a variety of tasks, transporting both staff and patients, hospital food, medical supplies, post/records and waste.
Previously, Heart of England managed its own fleet in-house, but found that switching to contract hire has dramatically cut costs and improved uptime.
Martin Adams, the Trust’s transport manager, says: “We no longer need spare vehicles in case of unplanned downtime. Fraikin can either fix the vehicle at the roadside, or will provide us with a substitute vehicle within an hour so we can get on with the job – so we have the flexibility of a larger fleet without the costs.”
Additionally, the contract hire deal gives Heart of England access to assets with the latest engine technology, so it has more efficient, lower emission vehicles.
The fleet is supported by Fraikin’s full service management, structured around the Trust’s operational patterns. Previously, maintenance work had to be during office hours, but Fraikin now carries out maintenance work and inspections at night, eliminating downtime.
All vehicles are equipped with Fraikin’s mySmartFleet telematics system, which is offered in conjunction with Masternaut, giving real-time visibility of every vehicle. “That’s particularly useful as we have a lot of lone workers – with Fraikin’s telematics, we know exactly where they are so we can ensure they are safe,” says Adams.
Fraikin and the Trust are now looking at introducing electric vehicles and charging points at the Trust’s hospital sites.
Adams concludes: “Fraikin’s support through contract hire means we can run a fleet that is far more efficient and cost-effective than if we owned our assets outright. We get a truly first-class service that helps our hospitals continue to look after patients with the lowest possible spend.”