COVID-19: Uniserve rush intensive care beds to Nightingale Hospitals

Apr 14, 2020 | Article, News

The newly constructed NHS Nightingale Hospitals in London, Bristol, Harrogate, Manchester and Birmingham, are being equipped to look after coronavirus patients on a major scale.

Uniserve were given the order to urgently move specialist intensive care beds from Turkey to meet with the opening timescales of all these hospitals.

This was a challenge that most wouldn’t have been able to deliver on. With all our experience and established services from Turkey, if anyone could do it, Uniserve could.

First was the issue of getting the beds from Izmir, with the factory rushing to finish production and loading the beds straight on to our trailers. On the same day, all medical equipment was banned for export from Turkey. We managed to overcome this by working closely with Turkish Customs and agreeing they would let these much needed intensive care beds through the Turkish border.

We had a convoy of trailers, all full to the brim, each one with two drivers so they could drive day and night, only stopping for fuel.

All the vehicles arrived in Bulgaria in good time but were met with a 21 vehicle accident on the main motorway, where lorries and trailers had spilt their loads all over the road. Thankfully, our vehicles were not involved, but the road was closed for 2 days and our convoy of lorries were stuck in the middle. Eventually the road was cleared and we were on the move again.

Just as we were making up for the lost days, one of the trailers was stopped at a random check point. The entire load had to be taken off, all the paperwork checked and double checked, and then the goods were reloaded and sent on their way. This caused another delay as well as incurring customs inspection costs, but this last trailer pushed on, now running solo and trying to catch up with the convoy.

In some countries, customs were stopping distribution vehicles to impound medical equipment, with rumours that such equipment went straight into their own hospitals. At every check point, we hoped we were not going to be stopped. Luck was on our side as this was the only random check we had in the whole convoy, throughout the entire journey.

Our convoy made its’ way through Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Belgium, France and eventually arrived in the UK. Some 2200 miles and 8 days later, everything was delivered and installed in the Nightingale hospitals, just in time for the first coronavirus patient.

Thanks to the dedication of the Uniserve team who followed and managed each mile of every vehicle, and to the brilliant drivers who navigated their way safely in double-quick time, the NHS was able to have all these intensive care beds set up, and nurses training to use them, all in order to save lives.

If you require any specific updates’ please do not hesitate to contact the Uniserve team by calling 01375 851 346 or by emailing us at help@ugroup.co.uk.

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