- Czech Republic
In June 2015, we were approached by Medtronic Europe regarding the provision of an exhibition bus to tour European cities for a 3-month tour commencing September 2015 – December 2015
Medtronic are the global leader in medical technology, alleviating pain, restoring health and extending life for millions of people around the world. With deep roots in the treatment of heart disease, Medtronic now provides a wide range of products and therapies 2 of which they wished to promote with the exhibition bus
After several weeks of negotiations Medtronic arranged for their UK agent to visit and view the recommended buses. After several more days of discussion Medtronic decided against our recommendation and chose RSP09, a then recently converted Optare Excel 11.5m single decker bus to undertake the tour.
This caused both delight and trepidation with senior management, delight in the fact we had secured the tour and trepidation because this particular make of bus had never been exported in to Europe meaning there were no spare parts or mechanical experience anywhere other than the UK
Another aspect was that the bus would be travelling to European countries and cities that were, like London, heavily invested in Low Emission zones (LEZ) and the vehicle didn’t comply with any of these regulations, meaning that in some cities it would be barred from entry or heavily fined, without a major engine exhaust upgrade.
Last but not least the bus would be travelling too and through many different countries within East and West Europe, each with their own sets of regulations relating to large vehicles, the exhibition vehicle had to comply with each of these countries regulations
It is safe to say a large amount of time and money was spent on lowering engine emissions, preventative maintenance, compliance requirements and spare parts preparing the vehicle for its upcoming journey, so much so the start date was changed to November 2015 and ending January 2016
In addition to the internal and external branding to the bus, we removed one of the vehicles seats and installed a cupboard, which also doubled up, with the addition of another TV, as a games station for a medical simulation program for visitors to test their medical skills on inserting pacemaker.
Last but not least the rear room of the vehicle had a cupboard with extending top installed creating a display area for the a large test kit for demonstration purposes
On Monday 1st of November 2015 the bus left Blackpool for mainland Europe travelling via Hull and North Sea Ferry’s with its first event in Meerbusch Germany on Wednesday 4th November, which was quickly followed by Berlin on 7th Nov.
The exhibition bus was exhibiting 2 of Medtronic’s latest technological advances in heart monitoring via LINQ and an unbelievably small pacemaker called MICRA
LINQ is a revolutionary Insertable Cardiac Monitoring System which may help doctors diagnose and treat irregular heartbeats that may be related to unexplained fainting. It is designed for people who experience infrequent fainting symptoms.
MICRA unlike most pacemakers that are placed in the patient’s chest with leads running to the heart, Micra is implanted directly into the patient’s heart. Micra is 93% smaller than conventional pacemakers, about the size of a large vitamin capsule and for most patients, the Micra design translates to fewer medical complications and fewer post-implant activity restrictions.
After only one month on the road, Medtronic requested that the tour be extended from 3 to 6 months, taking the tour to April 2016, additional locations were sent over for our management team to check routes and timings.
As the tour progressed visiting more hospitals, medical conferences and congresses the more the April deadline was extended with a final end date of the 3rd November 2016, which included a 6 weeks summer break, making the tour last for almost a year from its start.
Overall the bus travelled over 48,000km through 21 countries undertaking over 100 event days with many thousands of patients, doctors, surgeons, health officials and government ministers visiting the bus and is one of our most filmed, photographed vehicles with images from both the inside and out appearing in most counties TV news, newspaper and medical journals
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