Doctors have been given the green light to use the latest Toyota cars in a fleet that has proved highly reliable in getting them out and about to patients. The five new vehicles will enable the successful out-of-hours GP service supplied by Take Care Now (TCN) Ltd in East Anglia to be extended across the country – to South Worcestershire.
The diesel-engined Toyota Avensis Tourers bring to 18 the number of cars in the all-Toyota TCN fleet. The majority of the vehicles are Avensis 2.0-litre estates, with three RAV4s for use by doctors in remote areas such as the Fenlands where go-anywhere ability is needed, and a Corolla for sales and development staff.
For more than five years TCN (previously Suffolk Doctors On Call) has used Toyotas to make out-of-hours home visits around Suffolk and in parts of Cambridgeshire and Essex. From its control centre in Ipswich, the independent service co-ordinates the overnight assignments of duty doctors working from 12 bases. This number will be increased with the new contract to cover out-of-hours duties in South Worcestershire.
The doctors always have a Toyota and driver available, and the control centre is in permanent contact and always aware of the cars’ location. Though not an emergency service, TCN responds to urgent medical conditions, so it cites reliability, suitability for purpose and cost-effectiveness in that order as its priorities for vehicles.
“The feedback we’ve had has always been that the vehicles work as we expect them to do – over the five years we’ve suffered only one breakdown, so reliability with the Toyotas is sound,” says Business Finance Manager Mike Zebedee.
“The new vehicles have only just been delivered and we’re quite impressed – so far so good.”
The new Toyotas are obtained on three-year full-maintenance contract hire through Ryland Unity and supplied by local Business Centre Ipswich Toyota. Take Care Now’s cars average 20-25,000 miles a year.