NHS teams are using what3words to help ambulance crews find over 46 key locations at hospitals and temporary Nightingale sites to ensure patients and PPE arrive at the right place safely, faster and more easily.

what3words is being used by Yorkshire Ambulance Service Trust (YAS), Welsh Ambulance Service (WAS) and South Western Ambulance Service (SWAS) to identify specific entrances and delivery points at the 24 key regional hospitals in Yorkshire, 18 key hospitals in the South West and Nightingale sites including Cardiff, Harrogate and Bristol.

Most hospital sites in the UK are large areas with multiple entrances, numerous buildings and confusing road layouts. During the national fightback against Covid-19, difficulties finding hospital locations are costing time and increasing avoidable physical interactions. To make navigating these sites easier and more efficient, what3words addresses have been listed on maps to help NHS teams find patient drop-off points, ambulance staff entrances, points for vital equipment deliveries, and controlled waste disposal areas safely and more easily.

At nearly 150,000 square feet, the temporary Nightingale Hospital on standby in Yorkshire’s Harrogate Convention centre is served by three different postcodes and a number of different vehicle access points.

Tony Blinkhorn, National Inter-agency liaison officer (NILO) for Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust played a key role in using what3words to solve logistical challenges on site. He says: ‘An important part of our response to Covid-19 is ensuring that our ambulance crews can find new hospital sites and medical facilities quickly and accurately – and this is where what3words has made life much easier for the management and planning of the transfer process.’

The temporary hospital at UWE’s Bristol Exhibition and Conference Centre had similar addressing issues. It was important to Ami West, Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response (EPRR) Officer at SWAS, that planning teams and ambulance crews learned how to use what3words to navigate to key locations spread across the campus. She says ‘In the current pandemic we need to ensure our people and supplies arrive exactly where they are needed safely. We wouldn’t want orders delivered to the wrong place, as it might take time to trace and redirect them. what3words addresses help our drivers and supporting military personnel – who have stepped in to run our hospital stores – to find precise drop-off and collection points faster and more easily.’

Jason Fenard, Locality Manager for the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Hazardous Area Response Team and Specialist Operations, said: ‘Postcodes can often be difficult to find in some areas in Wales due to the geography, but the work that what3words has delivered has ensured that crews from any region in Wales have the ability to accurately locate access points and other key areas in the new field hospitals and medical facilities, even if they are unfamiliar with the local areas. This ultimately ensures that the patient is moved to the appropriate point of care as promptly as possible with minimal disruption, and crew exposure time is also lessened therefore reducing risk to our staff’.

Chris Sheldrick, CEO and co-founder of what3words added, ‘The strength of feeling and unified support of our NHS across the country has compelled us to do whatever we can to back up the resources of our vital key workers during this crisis. We’ve helped to create these maps at the request of the Yorkshire Ambulance Service, Welsh Ambulance Service and South Western Ambulance Service teams who are working at NHS sites across the regions they operate in’.