Independent Ambulance Case Study: Spark Medical
Spark Medical began its career in event coverage at the start of 2018. From festivals to marathons and local events, the independent ambulance provider steadily built up a strong reputation for high standards of service and care.
By the end of 2018, a bigger future was beckoning. CQC (Care Quality Commission) registration had been achieved and Spark Medical began to provide emergency and non-emergency services for NHS hospitals and statutory ambulance services. This included frontline care and patient transportation.
Since then, their fleet has grown to 36 vehicles, while their employee count has risen to around 160.
A growing range of services and an increasing workforce meant that their insurance provider would need to work hard to keep up. To find out more about Spark Medical and how One Broker Ambulance kept pace, we spoke to Head of Governance and Contracts, Dave Large.
High-quality and high standards
At Spark Medical, high standards are incredibly important. “Reputation is vital,” stresses Dave Large. “Maintaining it is at the forefront of what we do.”
As a result, senior leadership spend considerable time examining whether vehicles are well-equipped and maintained, and that care is high-quality.
“We spend a lot of time learning and working on how to improve,” explains Dave. “As Head of Governance and Contracts, 80% of my role is to keep an eye on everything. I complete audits on the standard of care and make sure everything is in line with the very best practice.”
Their success at this is borne out by the firm’s recent high-scoring ‘Good’ rating from the CQC.
But this isn’t to say that the company hasn’t faced challenges.
Covid-19 proved to be a significant challenge for the independent ambulance provider. As a key frontline service provider, Spark Medical worked throughout the pandemic, although this took a mental and physical toll on the staff.
“There was no stopping or furloughing,” said Dave. “We therefore had small outbreaks within the business, which meant that others had to step up to maintain a high level of care. The impact this had on the staff was huge.”
Supply issues have also been problematic as the company has grown. At present, there is a 12-month turnaround for new ambulances, which is trying when each vehicle in the fleet must be no older than 5 to 7 years.
In addition, the growth of the business itself could cause issues. “We want to safeguard jobs and ensure no corners are cut,” explains Dave. “This means that we have to grow carefully.”
Finding the right insurance
When it comes to insurance challenges, value for money will always be a priority. And, for Dave, service is part of that. “We need those who deal with our insurance to be on the ball. When I’m on the phone with them, they need to understand what we do. This gets things moving when making a claim.”
With One Broker Ambulance, this is very much the case.
“The service is second to none. The brokers are very reassuring and understanding,” comments Dave.
This has been particularly important in the last 6 to 8 months when a number of Spark Medical’s vehicles were unfortunately involved in third-party road incidents.
“At One Broker Ambulance, they go the extra mile. They ask things like ‘how are your crew?’ and they ask it because they are genuinely concerned rather than just thinking about the claim. This makes a tremendous difference.”
Looking to the future
As we move further into 2023, Spark Medical is laying down plans for further growth. “We don’t want to oversaturate the area we’re in, so we are looking elsewhere,” explains Dave. “We could perhaps open a new base down south.” By the end of the year, he expects that their staff numbers will grow to more than 200.
The future certainly looks bright for Spark Medical. And with One Broker Ambulance on board for their journey, they can rest assured that their insurance service will continue to match their own high standards.
Want to discuss your ambulance service’s insurance?
Contact the One Broker Ambulance team on 01603 218295 to find out how we can help you today.
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