What’s next for ERS and E-zec?

Tuesday, 18 April, 2023

• Group Chief Executive Craig Smith

• Colleagues trained in Falls Response

In February, Ambulance Life shared the news about the merger between E-zec Medical and ERS Medical. We recently caught up with the group’s Chief Executive Craig Smith to find out more about what this means for the industry, ICBs and patients.


1. Tell us more about why the merger happened?We saw an opportunity to bring two of the strongest providers of healthcare transport together. Both businesses are of a similar size and share the same ambition – to support those in our communities who need our specialist help, whether it is transporting patients to vital hospital appointments, supporting patient flow within Acute hospitals or facilitating the transfer of pathology samples. Now, as one provider, we have a unique opportunity to use our collective experience, expertise and skills to learn from each other and enhance the services we provide. As of 1st February 2023, the merger provides a true national footprint of over 50 bases and 2500 frontline colleagues.

2. Is the Group looking to expand into other areas in addition to the contracts currently being serviced?
Our new platform gives us two huge opportunities, initially to learn from each other to enable an even stronger performance to our patients and customers. Secondly it will enable us to reach even more people in our communities who need our support.

As an example, our depth of healthcare logistics experience can help us to reduce health inequalities within communities by delivering services such as SEN transport and secure mental health patient transfers. We are also exploring a number of options as to how our footprint can help reduce the number of patients needing hospital treatment in the first place.
A merger of this size also means we have a larger platform to drive accelerated innovation in areas of patient care, specialist transport and environmental initiatives.

3. What will the combined structure look like and when is that going to take shape?
Both the ERS and E-zec brands had a strong market presence, however we recognised that to achieve all of our ambitions we needed to think and act as one. We are very excited to be able to announce that from 1st April 2023 we will be known as EMED Group and will operate under the following operational divisions.

  • Patient Care - Focusing on our core NEPTS services
  • Safe Care - Focusing on supporting mental health and secure patient transport services
  • Community Care - Focusing on community and local authority support
  • Courier Services - Focusing on pathology, courier and in-home diagnostic support

4. What can the industry expect with the combined synergies of both businesses?
The reality of combining both businesses is having best-in-class processes and services that both, E-zec and ERS bring to the mix. Our sector will benefit from this and additionally, have operational and supply-chain resilience that comes with a provider of this size.

To illustrate, we now have 2500 crews and drivers, working across 50 operational depots. If we look at the example of out-of-area discharges, this usually has a knock-on effect on operational capacity. However, with our scale and true national footprint, we can mitigate this and improve the patient and client experience.
We’re also focussed on investing more into research and development to drive continuous improvement to help us learn, adapt and respond in an agile way.

5. What can patients expect?
Day-to-day operations will remain unchanged in many ways and our patients (new and regular) will continue to see crews and drivers arriving with the same friendly and caring approach.

However, as we go ahead into 2023, patients will see an even wider range of services that are all aimed at supporting them to live healthier lives.

For instance, we recently launched a 24-hour ‘Falls Service’ in Shropshire to assist people in the community who have fallen. This 24-hour falls service has trained Ambulance Care Assistants (ACAs) quickly attend and assist patients who’ve suffered a fall and need support. The service works with local frontline services and is intended to drastically lower the time that patients are waiting for assistance and release medical staff to focus on the urgent care needs of the community.
In summary we want to use our combined knowledge and experience of healthcare and logistics to drive more positive changes for patients and communities.

6. During the last few months Ambulance Life has shared with its readers some training initiatives from both ERS and E-zec medical. We wondered if these investments focussing on training will continue after the merger? (In particular, we reported on E-zec medical making a commitment to provide a new induction programme for new starters with the ACA Academy. We also reported on a ground-breaking initiative from ERS Medical launching a virtual reality platform for its crews to help with refresher training.

The “People” agenda is the most important agenda for us as a group. It’s the key to accelerate our ambitions and initiatives. We have clear plans that we believe will make us an employer of choice; for example, we have over 100 frontline colleagues on a bespoke Ambulance Care Assistant apprenticeship scheme, and we expect to see that number double as we have now grown in size.

We are also continuing to look at novel and innovative ways to induct, train and develop our colleagues and ideally be the launch pad for people to have a long and successful career in healthcare.


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