E-zec’s ongoing court case with HMRC: the latest

E-zec ambulance

“The team here at E-zec has recently received some positive news in an ongoing case against HMRC, and whilst it’s not yet all set in stone we did want to share an update. Along with other PTS providers, we’ve been challenging HMRC on an element of VAT law and how they classify some of the vehicles used across the patient transport sector. The case was finally heard and considered, and the Judge agreed with us that the current interpretation wasn’t right, and was causing real inconsistency across the board. His judgement gave clarity for the whole industry moving forwards. 

HMRC have the right to appeal but if the original decision remains unchanged we do see this as a milestone for the sector. The suggested new VAT rules would allow us, and all others who transport patients in the same way, to operate to the same rules as others in allied industries. Importantly, it will also remove a key business risk that we’ve have had to invest significant time and resource to manage. This resource will now be freed up to further support our people, our clients and their patients. 

We’ll know whether HMRC intends to appeal later in October and we’ll be in touch again then to let you know. For now though, we’re pleased to have taken a stand for what we believe was right, and – hopefully – for a more level playing field moving forwards.”

Rob Harvey, Chief Financial Officer

Benefits, wellbeing and engagement platform launches

The end of August saw the launch of E-zec’s new benefits, wellbeing and engagement platform, which all of its employees could use and benefit from, with immediate effect.

Available as an app that can be downloaded from the app store for android and Apple devices, online and nestled in E-zec’s colleague portal ‘My E-zec’, the innovative tool provides a number of benefits, including:

Shopping discounts including most of the main supermarkets for grocery shopping through to money-off purchases of home furnishing, clothes, restaurants, short breaks and a variety of luxury goods

Round-the-clock online GP consultation including a private prescription service.

Access to various Cash Plan Services that can provide colleagues and their families with peace of mind if they become unexpectedly ill or if the very worst happens.

An Employee Assistance Programme providing counselling support 24/7, 365 days a year, including a confidential helpline for medical, legal and financial matters as well as access to an online library of self-help tools and webinars to help support physical and mental health and wellbeing.

An ambulance care assistant based (ACA) in Bristol has already benefitted from the online GP service saying:

I had suddenly developed an infection that if it had developed further would have meant me taking time off work over a weekend shift. I called the GP service, secured a video call appointment with a lovely GP who prescribed antibiotics, which I collected from my local pharmacy before starting when the next morning. No way would it have been so straight forward at my normal GP surgery – I wouldn’t have had an appointment until the Monday and even then would have had to hold for an appointment at 8.30 in the morning, having suffered with symptoms all weekend.”

Similarly, a colleague based in Somerset secured a huge discount on new carpets for his home, using the 8% discount on offer at Carpetright.

Using a combination of discounts from E-zec’s app and Blue Light Card, others have saved 14% on their weekly shop at Asda.

E-zec’s new platform can be used in conjunction with existing retailer-specific discount and voucher schemes as well as Blue Light Card savings and promotions.

Of the platform’s launch, E-zec’s Chief People Officer Justine Vaughan said: “We are delighted to have recently launched our new and very exciting Benefits and Rewards based platform for all E-zec colleagues.  

Recognising our ‘People First’ company value means that we truly believe that our colleagues should come first by providing access to a variety of Wellbeing, Engagement and Discounted benefits and it has been very positively received internally. In addition to the benefits our colleagues have already started to enjoy, our focus on colleague wellbeing is now being further supported by providing access to immediate 24 hr, seven-day access to GP support, enabling colleagues to access medical assistance when they need it and when it’s convenient for them. This a huge benefit and unique in the workplace. We have already started to see an uptake in other benefits we provide through this platform, providing ‘peace of mind’ when it comes to absence in the workplace or the need to receive hospital treatment – through these aspects of the platform, and if they chose to take up these benefits, our colleagues continue to receive an income if they are too unwell to work or have an important medical appointment. 

The great opportunity here and one of the reasons why working at E-zec is so rewarding is that our colleagues have a choice of benefits they can access… We recognise that what’s important to one may be different to another – flexibility is key and that’s the aim of our Reward and Benefits Strategy, which we will continue to develop moving forward.”   

Shropshire’s operations rated ‘Good’ by the CQC

Shrewsbury dispatch centre

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England. Following an unannounced, comprehensive inspection by the CQC in May, E-zec is delighted to report that the CQC has rated its Shropshire operations as ‘Good’.

During the CQC’s inspection, they spoke to 14 E-zec colleagues, including ambulance care assistants, control room colleagues, supervisors and managers. The inspection team checked eight vehicles, reviewed five patient records and six colleague records, primarily at the company’s Shrewsbury dispatch centre.

The CQC’s inspection covers five key lines of enquiry that they ask of all care services that they inspect. These are: Safe, Effective, Caring, Responsive to People’s Needs and Well Led.

Highlights from the CQC’s inspection include:

• The service had mostly enough staff to care for patients and keep them safe. Staff had training in key skills, understood how to protect patients from abuse, and managed safety well. Staff assessed risks to patients, acted on them and kept good care records. The service managed safety incidents well and learned lessons from them. Staff collected safety information and used it to improve the service.

• Managers monitored the effectiveness of the service and made sure staff were competent. Staff worked well together for the benefit of patients and had access to good information. Key services were available seven days a week.

• Staff treated patients with compassion and kindness, respected their privacy and dignity, took account of their individual needs, and helped them understand their conditions. Staff told us they provided emotional support to patients, families and carers.

• The service planned care to meet the needs of local people, took account of patients’ individual needs, and made it easy for people to give feedback.

• Leaders ran services well using reliable information systems and supported staff to develop their skills. Most staff felt respected, supported and valued. They were focused on the needs of patients receiving care. Staff were clear about their roles and accountabilities. The service engaged well with patients and the community to plan and manage services and all staff were committed to improving services continually.

E-zec’s CEO Craig Smith was keen to align the Shropshire report with recent local quality inspections at E-zec’s operations in Dorset and Ipswich, saying: “As a business being ‘Committed to Care’ and ‘Listening, Learning, Adapting’ are two of our core values and underpin the way we behave and act. Following some developmental feedback from the CQC in last year’s Suffolk inspection, we have had a real focus on our quality strategy. It is really pleasing to see the progress made, which has now been recognised externally by two ICB quality leads and now the CQC. Of course there is always a lot more for us to do and we will continue to ensure quality remains an absolute priority for us with clear action plans to track progress.

The CQC’s full report can be found here:


About E-zec Shropshire:

E-zec Shropshire’s contract is to provide 95,000 patient journeys for children and adults each year across Shropshire and Powys. The types of journeys patients undertake includes: renal dialysis, outpatients appointments, discharges, admissions, transfers, oncology, palliative care, paediatric transport, bariatric transport, and GP transfers. In addition to standard patient transport services, E-zec provides a dedicated renal manager to provide enhanced support for dialysis patients across the region, a shuttle service linking the two acute NHS hospitals in Shropshire, plus a support service to facilitate the discharge of long-stay patients and their equipment.

Shaping E-zec’s fleet of the future with Venari

E-zec Medical fleet and ambulance crews visit Venari

As part of its vision for the future, which involves fully harnessing the skills, enthusiasm and passion of all of its colleagues, in July 2022 E-zec assembled a group of volunteers from across the business including colleagues from fleet, ambulance care assistants and key stakeholders. This Vehicle Specification Steering Group‘s first stop was a visit to Venari in Goole to consult with them about the development and build of E-zec’s new ambulances. The meeting included a tour of the factory and production line to help the team to understand the process of converting a base light commercial vehicle into an ambulance. Patient transport equipment and resource specialist Ferno also attended and ran a demonstration session of all the various equipment that they currently have available.

The result of the meeting and all the great ideas, comments and feedback given by the group, was that Venari are working with E-zec’s fleet team, lead by Mark Vardon, to develop an industry-leading ambulance for the future.

Head of Fleet Mark Vardon said after the steering group’s visit: “We Listen, We Learn, We Adapt! This was a great opportunity for our road-based colleagues to voice their opinion on our plans for the E-zec fleet of the future. I would like to thank all of the steering group for their time and invaluable input. I would also like to thank Oliver North – CEO at Venari – and his team for their hospitality and making the E-zec team feel so welcome on the day. Also thanks to Trust Ford, Ford Fleet Management and Ferno for their support.”

E-zec’s Environmental Strategy: Updated

None emergeny patient transport ambulance

One of E-zec’s core values is Committed to Care, which extends beyond looking after our patients to encompass our colleagues, our communities and our planet. Therefore, we are delighted to be able to formally announce the next phase of our Sustainable Development Management Plan that commenced in 2015.

Our strategy actively supports NHS plans to reach net zero by 2040, seeks to eliminate activities that cause environment damage and to actively encourage measures to improve the environment we live in. The focus of our strategy for the next 12 months will be on five key areas:

  • Transition to a paperless working environment  through the use of technology
  • Eliminate all water pollutants as a bi-product of ambulance cleaning through the introduction of non-toxic biocides
  • Reduce energy consumption across all of our offices and operational hubs and transition to green energy sources
  • Actively start to eliminate harmful emissions from our fleet of ambulances and wider business travel
  • Support and incentivise our supply chain to encourage and support a similar focus on environmental sustainability

As a business E-zec drives over 12 million miles a year and as a result our strategy has a particular focus on reducing emissions from our fleet. To support our aims, we are delighted to confirm that we will be working in partnership with Trust Ford and the Venari Group to support our fleet replacement strategy. This will see the introduction of EV and Hybrid ambulances this year and will see our entire fleet replaced by 2029.

Recognising that our replacement programme will take time we are also committing to offset all carbon emissions generated from our fleet from August 2022 and are actively looking to harness the latest technology to reduce emission through improved driving standards.

E-zec’s CEO Craig Smith had this to say about its environmental strategy: “I am delighted to be able to announce these updates to our environmental strategy. Being Committed to Care is a core value for our business and this strategy outlines our commitment to the planet. We have a lot of work to do but we now have a clear plan and I am delighted to be able to work with Ford and Venari to start the journey of our fleet replacement strategy.”