Case Study Spotlight: South Western Ambulance Control Room

CCD designed the new South Western Ambulance control room in Bristol. With particular emphasis during the refurbishment on the usability of the environment and the happiness of the employees, we worked hard to understand what employees wanted and needed from the new space. As a result, staff illness is down, while productivity and staff retention has improved.

Time for a change

The existing space has remained unchanged since 2000, and had become extremely overcrowded as the response team at SWAS grew. Due to the nature of a 24/7 response room, periodical refurbishments are extremely challenging, hence they often remain unchanged for many years as was the case at SWAS. Along with becoming tired, the existing space needed a technological overhaul.

SWAS took a people-focused approach to their new space. They wanted it to be a place where people enjoyed working and where staff could effectively and efficiently carry out their tasks.

It’s about the people

CCD put together a project working group to represent the wider staff. Members included senior and control room managers, as well as representatives from call-taking, deployment, the clinical desk, training, audit and so on. Full scale mock-ups were undertaken of the space, so CCD could observe the way people worked, communication channels and sight lines, and get a sense of the future environment people wanted.

Some of the most interesting requests that came out of the staff mock-up workshops were fitness equipment, quiet rooms and cycle parking, all of which were provided for in the new space.

The finished product is a result of thorough user research and involvement, coupled with the progressive attitude of SWAS themselves. It provides staff with a calm environment that they helped create and enjoy being in.

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David Watts

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