When it comes to transport within the healthcare industry, there are few services finer than ERS Medical. Their incredible team supports over 250 NHS Orgnaisations, freeing frontline NHS staff to provide vital healthcare transportation at all times. Their CEO, Andrew Pooley, has guided them through troubling times and in CEO Monthly, he has won the award for CEO of the Year, 2021 – United Kingdom. We take a closer look to discover how.
ERS Medical is now one of the most successful medical transport organisations in the UK, employing 1,200 colleagues across 25 sites to provide the ultimate in private healthcare transportation. For over a quarter of a million patients every year, ERS Medical is a vital link in the healthcare chain that gets them where they need to be. Their mission to provide a reliable, caring service that puts people at the heart of what they do sounds simple enough, but it wasn’t always like this.
When current CEO Andrew Pooley arrived at ERS Medical, it was a very different organisation. Having left his position in the Army Reserves in 2013, he had built his name as a force to be reckoned with when it came to successfully mobilising and improving large, complex healthcare services. The bureaucracy of healthcare systems has halted the progress of many over the years, but Mr. Pooley was not deterred. In 2016, he joined the board of First Care Ambulance Ltd as the Operations Director where he oversaw rapid expansion, increased revenue and raised standards so that the business could achieve a good CQC rating in less than 18 months. The business model was one which was focused on quality, compliance and scalability, all within a heavily regulated sector.
In 2017, Mr. Pooley had gained enough experience in all aspects of the healthcare sector to lead a complex acquisition bid for the trade and assets of ERS Medical alongside his fellow First Care Ambulance directors. ERS Medical was far from a success at this time, incurring significant losses and failing to live up to expectations. Over a period of six months, the team used the business model developed at First Care Ambulance to transform the fortunes of ERS medical. Over 850 staff, the premises and assets were transitioned to a new business, ERS Transition Ltd (still trading as ERS Medical), which formed the basis of the firm’s current success.
As CEO of ERS Medical, Mr. Pooley has been able to watch the fledgling organisation fly. Much of his approach is inspired by the skills acquired through his military training and this has proven to be vital to his success as a leader and manager. The clear vision, complete with annual missions and tasks, company values and comms plan, alongside a detailed ‘Directive’, have been vital to ensuring everyone in the company is working on the same page, and towards the same aims.
This strategy is a part of the implementation of a large Mission Leadership model. This empowers managers at all levels to creatively solve problems within a senior manager’s intent. It provides an integrated way of working within a clear framework. Through freeing people to think for themselves and find solutions, ERS Medical has become an agile business which makes decisions and is led by the operations team. Every part of the service is built around ensuring that the ambulance crews can do their job as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Thanks to incredible leadership from the top of the organisation, ERS Medical has gained a reputation that is unparalleled within the industry. The team’s vital services are used across both primary and secondary care. The patient transport service, for example, can pick up patients from hospitals and take them home or to a hospital or an alternative place of secondary care. Similarly, the team’s medical courier service can distribute medicines and vaccines to GP Practices and pharmacies as well as collecting pathology samples and transport them to a hospital lab.
During these most difficult of times, particularly for the NHS, the ERS Medical team have gone above and beyond to support their customers. No matter what the challenge, the team have been proud to adapt to changing needs at remarkable pace with an openness that reflects their determination. As this national institution was knocked by waves of COVID-19, the ERS Medical steam made it their mission to help the wider sector transport patients suspected of or positive with COVID-19. More recently, the team have played an essential role in the regional roll out of COVID-19 vaccine doses in the North and South of England. Today, hundreds of thousands of doses of the vaccine have been safely delivered thanks to their care and ability.
The last eighteen months have been difficult for all in the healthcare industry, with numerous challenges both for the operation of the company and for maintaining morale in a pandemic. To support them, Mr. Pooley has overseen the expansion of internal support mechanisms for colleagues so they can access our Employee Assistance Programme and the services they provide. The firm has established and trained Mental Health First Aiders at our sites and regularly roll out Mental Health First Aid training to all managers, so they are better equipped to recognise and support with the first signs of stress as well.
Looking forward, it’s clear that ERS Medical is well on the way to becoming one of the leading health and social care providers in the UK. There are many different projects on the horizon in every part of the business, including the debut of the firm’s first electric ambuance in 2021 which will kickstart a green revolution within the business. These zero emissions vehicles save over 12,000kg CO2 per annum, when compared to a diesel vehicle equivalent driving 30,000 miles per annum. It goes a long way to aligning and supporting the way that the business works with the NHS’s Net Zero targets.
When looking at the transformation of ERS Medical, it’s hard not to credit Mr. Pooley with an astonishing amount of foresight which empowered a team to thrive through even the most challenging of circumstances. With their offering being a vital part of numerous NHS organisations, the failure of this company could have been a disaster. Under his leadership, however, ERS Medical has been completed regenerated. It is a formidable force to be reckoned with and one which reflects the tenacity, adaptability and the ambition of its CEO.