The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust is the first ambulance service to pilot a new technology that provides robust connectivity for ambulance crews and vehicles – even in areas where traditional cellular connectivity is impossible – with an exciting and innovative trial that has now been underway for a month and is already receiving positive reviews from staff, while supporting the safe non-conveyance of patients to hospitals.

The Hybrid Connex technology bonds clever software, cutting-edge hardware and cellular and satellite services into one package that effectively creates unbreakable, permanent connectivity, combining seamless 4G, 5G and satellite connections that ensure ambulance crews get a fast, resilient connectivity solution and are never offline.

An always-on Wi-Fi bubble around the ambulance allows staff to connect to digital systems such as NHS Spine-connected services one hundred per cent of the time, giving them access to patient history and enabling them to identify alternative care pathways, make the right decisions for the patient and provide the opportunity for the best possible clinical outcomes.

Stephen Bromhall, Chief Digital Information Officer for East of England Ambulance Service says: “Often, we will be in areas where our current radio technology or our 3G, 4G and 5G technology is in the dark zone so we lose connectivity. In simple terms, the Hybrid Connex trial has already proven that we can provide better clinical technology to the front line and our patients, improving patient care.

“This is not a replacement for ESN but a tangential technology to further support clinical connectivity. The early stages of the pilot have already shown the benefit of a faster and more stable connection to digital systems even while the vehicle is on the move. In some cases that connection has been able to extend into patients’ homes, resulting in the ability for staff to make Wi-Fi calls in low and no cellular connectivity areas.”

Philip Elvidge, Electronic Patient Care Records Lead (Paramedic) at East of England Ambulance Service is working on the trial and said: “When we lose connection, clinical apps stop being able to pull information from our CAD system, cease being able to pull information from our PDS trace to bring the patient’s NHS number into record and prevents us being able to upload information to our key partners. However, with Hybrid Connex we have been able to access the Summary Care Records and National Record Locator consistently, which gives staff access to patients’ End of Life and Mental Health Plans, giving access to key information any time of the day to help us make the right clinical decisions.

“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 all of the time to take advantage of it. Paramedics need to know they can always have the same information available no matter where they attend to their patients. With Hybrid Connex in place, we are already seeing how a guaranteed connection improves our patient care, as we can download information about the patient and access their clinical records whenever needed. We are already starting to use new functionality like video calling to a stroke consultant in a specialist centre, for example.”

Funded by a €5.7m grant from the European Space Agency (ESA), emergency services connectivity specialist Excelerate Technology is leading a consortium of partners to deliver Hybrid Connex, including NHS AGEM, Livewire, Satellite Applications Catapult and Vodafone.


Monica France, Programme Manager for Digital Transformation, NHS AGEM, said: “Hybrid Connex is a dynamic project that NHS Arden and GEM are really pleased to be involved in. Arden and GEM’s role is to support the relationship between NHS and industry. This will ensure that the delivery of efficient and effective patient care is at the forefront of the research.”
Bethan Evans, Chief Operating Officer for Excelerate Technology said: “This pilot is already starting to prove how a highly innovative, cutting-edge collaboration like Hybrid Connex can bring immediate benefits to patients and ambulance crews alike, including reducing unnecessary conveyance to hospitals.

“As the lead partner in the Hybrid Connex consortium, Excelerate is delighted to be working with NHS Arden & Gem and East of England Ambulance Service and we are looking forward to showing the benefits at ALF 2023. We are especially keen to hear from other ambulance services who would like to trial the technology.”

To get involved, or to find out more, visit the Hybrid Connex online engagement portal or email