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Ford builds on NHS alliance to aid community COVID effort

After the recent success of the alliance between Ford and the NHS to help administer COVID-19 vaccinations, the manufacturer has again joined forces with the NHS in Essex.

Using a specially converted Ford Transit Van, the partnership will help identify and assess the effects of ‘long COVID’ by offering a mobile clinic specialising in spirometry testing.

The Transit will house spirometry equipment used to test for and diagnose lung conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and identify other respiratory diseases such as lung issues linked to COVID-19. NHS clinicians and health workers will be able to offer a ‘one-stop-shop-service’ to assist residents in Essex that may have mobility issues, language barriers or live in more rural areas.

Dr Sharon Hadley, Clinical Lead at Mid and South Essex Partnership said: 

“Building on the success of the Essex Vax Van, we are launching a similar outreach model to help reach under-served groups to make sure they get the right care for breathlessness linked to long COVID.”

With a decline in spirometry testing during the pandemic, the British Lung Foundation estimates that the diagnosis of conditions such as COPD has fallen by half in the past year, meaning that tens of thousands of people across the country could be living with the condition without knowing.

“In the same way that COVID-19 posed a greater threat to certain communities,” 

Dr Hadley continued, 

“we need to get out and find those most at risk and make sure people have the knowledge, care and treatment they need to avoid serious life-limiting illness.”

Lisa Brankin, Managing Director at Ford said: 

“Ford is delighted to support this outreach programme using our new Transit van, which enables the NHS in Essex to directly target the communities that need it most. Working with the NHS to bolster outreach and uptake of such an important test, has been an incredible way to continue the momentum of the ‘Vax Van’. This spirometry testing van further anchors Ford as a leading organisation, with a ‘people-first’ approach in everything we do.”

The bespoke vehicle is based on a Ford Transit and has now been converted by West Yorkshire-based specialist vehicle builders, Venari Group to support the NHS. As well as spirometry testing equipment, the Transit’s specification includes medical-grade refrigeration with Wi-Fi monitoring capability, vaccine transport coolers, and a collapsible chair for administering vaccines, as well as an integrated tablet for accessing and updating health and vaccination records.

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

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Tuesday, 10/05/2022