Staffordshire’s district nurses are receiving a helping hand this winter to help them reach patients in more remote parts of the county in severe weather.
A new partnership between Enterprise Rent-A-Car and the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership NHS Trust will see the supply of 4x4 vehicles when snow or heavy rain hits to make sure district nurses, community matrons and other health and social care staff can still get through to patients.
"Severe weather can make it a real challenge to get our staff to patients in need of care at home and having these vehicles available from Enterprise when we need them will be a huge asset," said partnership trust director of operations Tina Cookson.
"The people we care for can have even greater confidence that, whatever the weather, our staff will be doing their utmost to reach them and provide the treatment they need.
"The support also provided by our volunteer 4x4 colleagues is invaluable, and after working closely with them last year, we have good plans in place ahead of this winter."
Volunteers 4x4 Network Staffordshire members laid on a special all terrain experience day to put the vehicles and Partnership staff through their paces with challenges including deep mud and hazardous climbs.
"The training drive was a fantastic experience," said Tracy White, district nursing sister from Yoxall.
"We often have to go out to remote areas in the dark when conditions can be quite severe, so to be in vehicle you know can get you there and having been trained to tackle the conditions, gives me lots of confidence. We just want to be able to get to our patients and care for them and now we’ve got the best help to do that."
Jodie Midgeley, West Midlands public sector development manager from Enterprise Rent-A-Car said: “When the weather takes a turn for the worse, the typical hatchback simply won’t cut it on the road.
"Our 4x4s will enable nurses to reach those in need safely, whatever the weather. Because our branches are so close by, it means we can get to where we’re needed quickly. We’re so happy to be able to support Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership NHS Trust and the local community by providing 4x4s for staff this winter.”
Mick Dunthorne from Volunteer4x4 said: "We are delighted to be able to support the Partnership Trust again this year, not only with our network of 4x4 volunteers who can be called on 365 days of the year, but also by helping district nurses get to grips with driving Enterprise 4x4s in all weathers so they can have the best chance possible of getting to patients who need them."