Healthcare at Home has ordered a new fleet of 140 refrigerated Mercedes-Benz vans.
The pan-European, insight-based managed medication service for complex medicines, operates from its headquarters in Burton upon Trent and has a network of 14 locations.
Its 1,500 staff, including nurses and pharmacists, support in excess of 180,000 patients nationwide.
Funded and fleet managed by Zenith, Healthcare at Home’s new vans are being supplied by dealer Rossetts Commercials.
The first 100 are already on the road, with the remaining 40 scheduled to enter service by Christmas. All are Vito 114 CDI Pure L2 models with long bodies.
Their 140 hp 2.1-litre engines drive the rear wheels – other Vito versions are available with front-wheel drive.
Healthcare at Home’s drivers will benefit from the vehicle’s standard-fit Active Parking Assist system, parking sensors and automatic headlights.
Other features include a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gearshift selector, a comfort driver’s seat, heated and electrically adjustable exterior mirrors, and heat-insulating glass.
Insulation and dual-compartment conversions are by temperature-controlled vehicle applications specialist Coolertech, of Hailsham, East Sussex, while Cambridge-based Marshall Fleet Solutions supplies and installs the Thermo King refrigeration units.
Reflecting the sensitive nature of Healthcare at Home’s work, and its commitment to patient confidentiality, the vans do not wear any livery. They will be maintained by the most conveniently located Mercedes-Benz Dealers.
Healthcare at Home head of Central Clinical Logistics, Sandy Lalli, said: “We previously ran several different brands of vehicle from various providers, but this was presenting more of a challenge from a communications perspective.
“Following a review of our logistics function we therefore decided to replace the entire fleet, and to consolidate around a single van model and a more streamlined management system.”
Healthcare at Home’s new vans have chilled sections for carrying products at between 2oC and 8oC, while the ambient regime is from 15oC to 25oC.
“Temperature control is crucial when you’re transporting pharmaceuticals,” explained Lalli. “Mercedes-Benz vehicles are renowned for their reliability and the Vito L2 is the ideal size for our operation, while the refrigerated conversions we’ve specified will mean that patients receive their medicines and drugs in perfect condition.”
She continued: “It was imperative that our new vans should be maintained by official Mercedes-Benz Dealers. Their out-of-hours servicing capability allows for work to be undertaken overnight, so it has no impact on our operation.
“It is also reassuring to know that if we require emergency roadside assistance, the vehicle will be attended by a qualified Mercedes-Benz technician who fits only genuine parts.”
Mercedes-Benz Vans strategic account manager Carol Kirk and Rossetts Commercials Business Development Manager Tracey Stewart worked closely with Healthcare at Home, as well as the Zenith project team, to put together a package which is perfectly tailored to meet Healthcare at Home’s requirements.
“The support we’ve received has been first class,” said Lalli. “Tracey has gone ‘above and beyond’ what we’d expect in visiting our sites every weekend as the vans have been delivered to ensure there are no issues, while Zenith is helping to establish relationships between our own teams out in the field and their local Mercedes-Benz Dealers.”
Photo caption: Healthcare at Home head of Central Clinical Logistics Sandy Lalli, second from left, and distribution manager Shaun Smith, right, are pictured with colleagues, from left, David Hutton, Martin Gilmore, Lorien Conti and Laura Foster-Smith.