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Header image for the current page Hybrid Connex

Hybrid Connex 'Digital Ambulance of the Future' project

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The Hybrid Connex ‘Digital Ambulance of the Future’ project is a joint NHS and commercial technology initiative that uniquely combines 4G, 5G and satellite connections, ensuring that vehicle crews wherever their location will always be online with a high-speed connection.

NHS Ambulance Trusts throughout the UK were invited to work with NHS Arden & GEM CSU, and its technology partners, to help shape 'Hybrid Connex' - a project which will enable a whole range of applications to work together, significantly improving patient experiences and transforming the way ambulance services deliver ‘see and treat’ care.

We want to create the blueprint for the first fully connected digital ambulance that will be a game changer in the way ambulance services provide the majority of care to patients. Hybrid Connex has the ability to provide a whole range of new on-the-spot services such as diagnostics and enabling specialists located remotely to treat patients at the scene, thus significantly reducing unnecessary conveyance to emergency departments.

Government supported fully funded trials

This two year project has successfully been awarded €5.7m of funding from the European Space Agency (ESA), which will enable us to work with Ambulance Trusts to understand their challenges, explore technological solutions and fully fund a series of trials to demonstrate its operational and financial benefits.

Pilot updates

June 2023


September 2023

Hybrid Connex - early feedback from the trial with East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust 

In the early stages of the pilot, Hybrid Connex has already shown the Trust the benefit of a faster and more stable connection to digital systems even when their vehicle is on the move. Enabling in some cases the connection to extend into a patients home with the ability to WiFi call in low and no cellular connectivity areas. In addition, during these first few weeks this technology has proven to support the non-conveyance of patients.

Stephen Bromhall EEAST CDIO
"The technology so far has proven that we can provide better clinical technology to the front line and our patients, improving patient care."

Phil Elvidge EPCR Clinical Lead (Paramedic)
"As we move forward with the integration of digital technology to ambulance front line care, we have access to more information about our patients than ever before, but we need to be connected. Paramedics need to know they can always have the same information available no matter where they attend to their patients."

Hybrid Connex utilises bonded cellular technology along with low level satellite communication to provide an always on WiFi bubble around the ambulance. Allowing staff to connect to digital systems such as spine connected services 100% of the time, giving them access to the patients history and identify alternative care pathways, to make the right decision for the patient and provide the best possible outcome. This is not a replacement for ESN but a tangential technology to further support clinical connectivity.

Hybrid Connex speaker panel at The Emergency Services Show 2023, Birmingham:
L-R: Tristan Wood, Managing Director - Livewire; Stephen Bromhall, Chief Digital Information Officer and Phil Elvidge, ePCR Clinical Lead and Paramedic - East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust; Monica France (Chair), Programme Manager Digital Transformation - NHS Arden & GEM CSU;  Simon Hill, Chief Technical Officer & Director - Excelerate.

October 2023

Hybrid Connex team provide update at the Ambulance Leadership Forum (link to external ALF website)

Pilot trial at East of England Ambulance Service showing positive early results (link to external Hybrid Connex website)

"Hybrid Connex is a particularly interesting research and development programme that is working to develop improved digital capability for ambulance services by looking at the next generation of connectivity.

We believe this complements and mirrors the aims of the NHS Ambulance Radio Programme (ARP) in the provision of modern communications platforms for the ambulance and wider health sector, which will enable the use of technology advances in patient care.

To this end, ARP has begun developing an open dialogue with the Hybrid Connex programme, particularly around ensuring that input from end-users across the ambulance sector is central to the development of the next generation of connectivity solutions in the future. This will also assist and inform the next generation of products to be delivered by ARP.

ARP does not view Hybrid Connex as an alternative to the current ARP Products or the Emergency Services Network, nor is it a competitor solution. It is about a broad range of key stakeholders working collaboratively together today to inform the successful development of future connectivity requirements for ambulance services tomorrow.

We hope these research and development collaborations will provide ambulance services with the powerful connectivity platform they need to build on, so they can create the digital healthcare applications of the future that will genuinely transform patient care.

Chris Lucas
Senior User
NHS Ambulance Radio Programme

  • Provides a whole range of new on-the-spot services such as diagnostic procedures, tests, diagnostic imaging and greater use of technology to enable specialists located remotely to treat patients immediately through telemedicine.

  • Aligned to the Carter Review - ability to substantially reduce unnecessary conveyance, improve effective see & treat and enhance in-transit care
  • Funded by a management contract which is designed to be cheaper than the existing multi-SIM packages used in most ambulances

  • Designed to be cheaper than operating two SIM contracts, meaning Trusts have the opportunity to save money
  • Enables data and costs e.g. telematics, fleet maintenance and automated stock control systems, to be analysed from a central portal thus reducing unnecessary handover delays

  • Designed to be fitted to new and existing fleets
  • Chooses the single most efficient, effective and available communication gateway, using Cellular – 3G, 4G, 5G; Satellite or Wi-fi - ensuring you are always online.
  • Uses a secure, reliable platform which seamlessly connects with on-board equipment, allowing information sharing and negating/reducing the need for multiple SIM/data contracts

  • NHS Arden & GEM is an award winning Commissioning Support Unit (CSU) working across the health and care sector in England to provide a range of services including transformation, business intelligence, procurement and contracting, business support and clinical support. Its ability to draw upon expertise from over 1,000 staff, working in multidisciplinary teams, enables the CSU to help healthcare systems navigate and implement the change needed to improve patient care and outcomes. Arden & GEM’s 70+ clients include Clinical Commissioning Groups, NHS England and NHS Improvement, ICSs, PCNs, NHS provider trusts and local authorities.

  • Excelerate Technology is a market-leading technology and connectivity partner, delivering hybrid connectivity solutions globally across diverse markets including emergency services, public safety, healthcare, governments, transport and utilities. Through a combination of cellular, satellite and wireless technology, Excelerate specialises in integrated solutions that overcome the boundaries and limitations of connectivity challenged environments, significantly improving real-time data transfer and reliability.

  • Satellite Applications Catapult: - A Government funded organisation that makes use of, and benefits from, satellite technologies, and brings together multi-disciplinary teams to generate ideas and solutions in an open innovation environment.

  • Livewire Digital are specialists in delivering bonded Internet access via satellite, cellular and terrestrial networks. Livewire are the creators of RazorLink®, the uninterruptible Internet connectivity solution that combines 4G, 5G and satellite connections to ensure its customers will never be offline, even in the remotest of locations or mobile ‘not-spots’. RazorLink® delivers fast, secure and resilient Internet connectivity and can be installed on laptops, vehicles, smartphone apps, be embedded in firmware or form part of an organisation’s overall infrastructure where it works seamlessly with existing applications and workflows.

  • Vodafone UK is a technology communications company that connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed line connections, home and office broadband, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

    We have a strong track record as a tech pioneer, making the UK’s first mobile phone call, sending the first text message, and making the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G in 2018. We were also the first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester. As of October 2020, we have 5G in 57 locations in the UK and 193 across Germany, Spain, Italy and Ireland.

    In September 2020, leading mobile benchmarking company, umlaut, named Vodafone as London’s best network for 5G. Our 4G network coverage currently reaches over 99% of the UK population. And in October 2020, Vodafone was named Network Provider of the Year by readers of leading technology advice website, Trusted Reviews.

    Today, Vodafone serves more than 18 million mobile and fixed-line customers in the UK. To help deliver Gigabit UK, our full-fibre broadband roll-out programme now covers 15 UK towns and cities through partnerships with CityFibre and Openreach.

Visit the Hybrid Connex website

To find out more about Hybrid Connex please follow the link below to the dedicated Hybrid Connex website which has been created by the Project Partners and is hosted by Excelerate Technology.