Seldoc Healthcare, a not-for-profit GP co-operative serving 2.5m patients in SE and SW London, has gone green thanks to a fleet of Toyota Rav4 hybrids supplied and managed by Fleet Alliance.

Seldoc, which has around 100 member GP practices, provides a number of services to different parts of the NHS. These include urgent care and supporting major hospitals providing accident and emergency services. The team is on call 365 days a year, 24 hours a day and this year has rapidly mobilised its services in response to the pandemic to support Covid-19 patients.

With many GP surgeries having to reduce face-to-face consultations during the pandemic, Seldoc Healthcare found that its home visiting services were becoming ever more important. In order to get doctors to see patients quickly and safely, the team needed greater mobility with reliable vehicles.

Fleet Alliance’s Jonathan Nolan who manages the Seldoc Healthcare relationship, recommended the RAV4 Design 2.5 litre automatic all-wheel drive hybrid to carry out their essential services.

With almost all of Seldoc’s work in heavily built up, urban areas, cleaner, greener cars were a necessity from an air quality perspective, while the AWD capability meant they could be effective all year round under any weather conditions.

A new batch of six Rav4 Design Hybrids have now been added to the existing four on the fleet and, thanks to Fleet Alliance’s expertise, at lower operating costs than before.

Nolan recommended that the vehicles were leased on three-year/36,000-mile contracts with full maintenance – Seldoc vehicles were previously outright purchased – and that they were managed through Fleet Alliance’s e-Fleet fleet management platform.

“We sourced the vehicles through our multi-funding panel to ensure the best possible price and have taken all the hassle of fleet administration away from Seldoc so they can concentrate on their core business and we can focus on ours,” said Nolan.

The new vehicles have been specially modified to meet Covid guidelines, with partitions fitted between the front and rear seats so that drivers and doctors are socially distanced.

Further modifications included roof bars fitted with green, not blue, lights, signwriting including the essential ‘Doctor on Call’, and distinctive green and yellow ‘Battenberg’ markings for greater visibility.

Seldoc Healthcare finance director Matt Abercrombie said: “We needed the right vehicles to support our clinical teams and deliver services as safely as possible. With plenty of space for all the necessary medical equipment and enough room to accommodate both driver and GP socially distanced, with internal screens fitted.

“We also wanted the new vehicles to be as green as possible from a clean air point of view and to have year-round capability with all wheel drive. Jonathan Nolan was able to deliver the perfect vehicles to meet our needs. Our drivers and clinical teams are delighted with this vehicle upgrade.”

Abercrombie said that the Rav4s were also being fitted with in-vehicle telematics for better route planning and reduced response times.

“By improving our ability to precisely locate where our cars are at all times, we are better able to reach our patients quickly, diverting vehicles where necessary. As a ‘patient-first’ organisation, this flexibility is important. Our new equipment will also help our drivers to enhance their driving skills, with helpful system-generated feedback on things like braking and acceleration,” he said.

Dr Sharif Zarif, one of Seldoc’s many dedicated clinicians, said: “There is ample space for me to perform my duties while in the car. Out of hours work will get busier in the future which is important to help reduce the need to go to A&E, leaving capacity for real emergency situations and saving lives.”

And Jose Alves, who has been a Seldoc Healthcare driver for over 20 years, added: “The Rav4s are a dream to drive, as well as reducing emissions and helping care for our planet.”

Fleet Alliance managing director, Martin Brown, said: “We are delighted to provide such key workers as Seldoc Healthcare with lower emission vehicles to continue to carry out the essential services that they have been delivering throughout this pandemic and wish them every success.”