Trailer provides Covid-19 lifeline delivering essential supplies to North Wales hospitals

Tomos Hughes with his Trailer which he uses to carry PPE to the three North Wales hub hospitals to help in the fight against the virus. Picture Mandy Jones

Essential supplies and some treats are being ferried to the Covid-19 frontline at hospitals across North Wales with the help of a top trailer maker.

The BV64 from Ifor Williams Trailers is providing a logistical lifeline with deliveries of vital personal protective equipment, bottled water and even Easter eggs over the recent bank holiday weekend to Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor, Ysbyty Glan Clwyd in Bodelwyddan and the Wrexham Maelor.

The trailer was originally acquired by the NHS charity, Awyr Las (Blue Sky), and the Keep the Beat and Achub Calon y Dyffryn charities with the aim of transporting life-saving defibrillators to communities in North Wales and carrying equipment to venues including schools for  presentations.

It’s now being used for a different purpose by Tomos Hughes BEM, North Wales’ Community Public Access Defibrillator (CPAD), who works for the Welsh Ambulance Service and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

Tomos, 44, who lives in Cerrigydrudion, in Conwy, was awarded the British Empire Medal last year for his work installing 400 defibrillators across North Wales, including one at the summit of Snowdon.

He took delivery of the BV64 box van just in the nick of time a couple of hours before the coronavirus lockdown came into force.

He said: “The trailer is being used by Awyr Las and the ambulance service to transport PPE and deliver it to the three main hub hospitals in North Wales.

“Luckily, we had the trailer a matter of hours when the lockdown was announced and it’s proved an invaluable tool. To be honest it’s been a massive help and I’m not sure what we would have done without it.

“I have also managed to get out with the trailer and deliver some temporary defib machines to areas I knew had inadequate cover while the pandemic continues .

“Knowing the likely difficulties we were going to face with the virus raging, I identified areas that needed defib machines and got them installed, although some are only on a temporary basis until the pandemic is over when I’ll make them permanent.”

“The trailer is just such a perfect tool. It was never intended to do the job it’s doing but it’s meant we can move PPE and other supplies quickly between hub hospitals.

“We have used it to carry other things like supplies of bottled water to frontline NHS staff. They need all the help they can get at this time

“We even filled it with chocolate after some supermarkets donated Easter eggs to NHS frontline staff battling the Covid-19 pandemic, I enjoyed delivering those to surprised but grateful staff at the three hospitals.

“ I’m happy we use the trailer for as long as it’s needed when it comes to moving equipment and whatever else is needed between our hub hospitals.”

Once the pandemic is under control, the trailer will be used for the purpose it was originally intended.

Tomos added: “ My role is to manage and maintain public-access defib machines across six north and mid-Wales counties. I am notified when a defibrillator machine is used, and on average I’d say that can be four of even five times a day.

“My role was set up as a joint initiative between the Welsh Ambulance service, the cardiac charity SADS UK and my own charity Achub Calon y Dyffryn which I set up to help communities fund the purchase of their own defibrillator machines.

“I’m notified when a defibrillator machine is used and then make sure it’s back up running and ready to be used again. I also give presentations to schools and other organisations on defibrillator machines and their use.

“The box van from Ifor Williams Trailers is going to make the task so much easier as I can now transport all the equipment and information boards I need so much easier.”

Kirsty Thomson, the head of funding at Awyr Las and deputy chair of the UK-wide NHS Charities Together, said: “Awyr Las supports additional equipment, facilities, special projects, education and research that goes over and above what the NHS provides.

“We helped purchase the trailer so Tomos could transport defibrillators and training equipment around the region but its arrival was particularly timely.

“Within a very short space of time the trailer was being used to help maintain the supply chain going to our three district general hospitals.

“As a result, there has been the minimum delay in getting additional equipment to the frontline medical teams dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic.”

Dan Joyce, the Corwen sales manager of Ifor Williams Trailers, was pleased to hear  of the instant benefit the trailer has brought in supplying the hospitals battling the pandemic.

He said: “Tomos took delivery of the trailer just in the nick of time before the lockdown was announced and it was in action within a matter of hours helping to distribute PPE.

“I’ve no doubt that Tomos will be transporting defibrillators around North Wales for many years to comer once this awful virus pandemic is over.

“The NHS frontline team, are doing an incredible job and I’m we’re pleased that Ifor Williams Trailers have played a small part in the Coronavirus battle.”