The ICT department

The ICT department is primarily responsible for delivering secure and resilient systems to support the delivery of excellent patient care through our Clinical Hubs and Operations teams.

We provide and maintain a reliable and resilient IT infrastructure and systems for our front-line and support staff. In doing so, providing fast, reliable response to support:

Emergency Systems

  • Computer Aided Dispatch
  • Hear and Treat
  • Dispatch medical responders and road/air ambulances
  • Mobile data information to the ambulance crews
  • Airwave Radio system

Networks

  • Design and implement secure and resilient network solutions
  • Manage and maintain existing network infrastructure
  • Secure the network using cutting edge technologies (layer 7, F5 etc.)

Server and admin systems

  • Email communications
  • Implementation and maintenance of back office systems (Finance, HR, Estates etc.)
  • Business communications (Skype)

Telephony

  • Maintain the reliability of the existing telephony system for our call-takers to respond to emergency calls from patients
  • A secure call-recording system for auditing and quality
  • Integration to BT service such as location tracking

Flexible approach to solutions

  • Office-working
  • Station access
  • ‘Off-grid’

The ICT department consists of about 40 members of staff across a wide range of roles. These include; network, server, telephony and emergency systems support.

Due to the diversity of systems supported by the ICT department, and the fast passed nature of both IT and the Ambulance Service, there are always opportunities for developing skills and getting involved in a wide variety of projects.

Locations

The Trust has two primary locations in Exeter and Bristol. Both locations benefit from on-site parking, kitchen facilities and local amenities. Bristol also benefits from an on-site gym.

  • While our roles are primarily office based, we do offer flexible working, which allows staff to work from home on a regular basis.
  • The Trust also offers a Cycle to Work scheme.

Updates

  • Home-working has been simplified and improved
  • Migration to Office 365 and Azure
  • Migration to a geographically resilient Windows Server 2019 Hyper-V environment
  • Full telephony upgrade for the 999 Clinical Hubs
  • Electronic patient records in ambulances
  • Skype teleconferencing
  • Migration to HSCN – increasing bandwidth at 120 stations
  • Network Core upgrades
  • Wireless network upgrades
  • Provision of communications at two PPE stores for COVID-19

Day in the life

Day in the life (no day is the same) of a Senior Network Engineer
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8:30am
Arrive in the office, check our monitoring systems for any errors during the evening and catch up on emails.

9.00am
Telephone call to assist an engineer who is supporting an ambulance station being migrated to HSCN. A quick confirmation of settings and all is ok.

9.15am
Contact a user who is having problems with a wireless access point dropping out in Dorset. Ask for more information so I can monitor.

9.30am
Assist a member of the network team who is building a 4G-connected router, which will provide connectivity while a helipad is being repaired in Bristol. All configured fine and we are able to test.

10.00am
Call comes in that our corporate wireless network is ‘dropping out’. Checking the logs of the wireless system and the client details, we trace the problem to the DHCP servers. Our server team take on the troubleshooting and resolve the issue quickly.

11.00am
Site visit in Tiverton with Openreach to plan the install of a new PSTN circuit for HSCN.

12.30pm
Lunch

1.00pm
Call from an engineer who has travelled to Wells to check connectivity issues. We find that the PC was connected to the internet router, not the firewall. Connectivity corrected and tested.

2.00pm
Conference call via Microsoft Teams with Dorset HealthCare to discuss our decommission of equipment in our former building.

3.00pm
Telephone call with our data contractor about works in Dorset and Somerset

3.30pm
Assist with the removal of packaging from new network switches.

4.00pm
Check planned work that has been submitted through change control.

4.30pm
End of the working day