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North East Ambulance Service

North East Ambulance Service

Windsor Delivers Life-saving Back-up System for Ambulance Service


The Customer

North East Ambulance Service employs more than 3,000 people and responds to 390,000 emergency and urgent incidents each year, providing emergency ambulance care and patient transport services across the counties of County Durham, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, and the boroughs of Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland and Stockton-on-Tees.

The Challenge

As an ‘Emergency Service,’ NEAS must comply with the National Contingencies Act, which demands multiple failover communication systems be in place to ensure vital 999 calls are always answered.

However, NEAS’s Nortel BCM 50 PBX failover solution was recently relabelled as ‘End of Life’ by its vendor, and any maintenance required could not be guaranteed. The vendor could only commit to ‘best endeavours’ fixes.

Therefore, amid multiple other projects, including managing the WAN, LANs, and IT at 64 depots, HQ connectivity and comms, Craig Brydon, NEAS’ Network and Telephony Manager, also had to find a replacement for its backup telephony system.

The Solution

Windsor Telecom was already contracted by NEAS to manage and deliver non-geographic numbers for its various depots and sites for internal communication throughout the NHS and loved the customisable platform to manage his number estate.

This platform removed the need for paramedics to hold a list of various numbers to contact different A&Es, depots, etc and reduced it down to 1 number with an innovative IVR to direct the call from there.

Therefore, Craig mentioned the challenge during a regular account review with his Account Manager, to find a seamless and efficient solution to his problem, while also reaching out to multiple other providers for their suggestions.

Windsor suggested the deployment of 2 separate SIP systems that would be completely independent of the main comms system, ensuring continuity if the primary platform suffered an outage.

While Craig received 6-figure quotes from other providers, Windsor’s solution was a quarter of the price of the competing solutions, and with Craig’s limited budget as a Public Service, the cost-saving was a major factor in ultimately choosing Windsor’s solution as the winning bid.


The Results

The process only took ten weeks from ordering through project management and installation to delivery. This ensured the previous backup system could be removed quickly, allowing NEAS to have continued confidence in its ability to failover should the primary system fail.

The lower cost of the system, compared to other propositions, has allowed Craig to allocate more funds to improve the communications in NEAS’ HQ Boardroom, and the fact that Windsor owned the entire process ensured that Craig and his IT team of 5 could focus on other, more critical projects to ensure the ambulance service could deliver the best possible service to the public.

And, while the SIP solutions have not been used, they are periodically tested by Windsor to ensure they are ready to be spun up if a situation ever arises, and Craig is more than happy with the solution and service delivered by Windsor Telecom.

“I have already recommended Windsor to other Ambulance Services, both for number management and for backup comms solutions. The balance of cost, features and peace of mind make their services amazing value. Add to that the professionalism of the team, exceptional setup and training, and I don’t think there is a better supplier out there.”

– Craig Brydon, Network and Telephony Manager, North East Ambulance Service


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