‘Daft as a Brush’ Cancer Patient Care

Daft as a Brush

Russell Telecom connects cancer care lifeline


Daft as a Brush Cancer Patient Care is a lifeline service providing free of charge transport to and from hospital to outpatients undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment. Set up in 2010 by Brian Burnie who sold his Doxford Hall Hotel and Estate in a multimillion-pound deal and invested all of the proceeds into the charity in order to provide this vital service.

Covering Northumberland, North Tyneside and Newcastle upon Tyne, the service makes a huge difference to the lives of those who would otherwise have to pay for public transport or taxis.

The charity currently has a fleet of nine ambulances and the aim is to raise enough money to purchase 25 and more vehicles capable of transporting 50,000 people per year. The charity also provides professionally trained care staff to travel onboard with the patients.

Russell Telecom are proud supporters of Daft as a Brush and have pledged to donate £25 each for every telephone installation they sell.

Daft as a brush patient transport van
We needed a solution that could combine flexibility, usability and reliability and Russell Telecom met that challenge to perfection.



One of the key requirements was to install a phone system that could improve communication between the company’s operations centre in Newcastle and its ambulances, which would in turn help to increase efficiency within the system and prioritise more urgent calls.

It was identified that the charity required a solution that could accommodate their need for increased flexibility, usability and reliability. They also needed a system that could relay out of hours calls to a live operator who could then schedule an ambulance pick-up.

Daft as a Brush partnered with Russell Telecom, a company with over 25 years experience of meeting the telecommunications needs of UK businesses and organisations.


Russell Telecom undertook a comprehensive evaluation of the companyʼs telecommunications systems. Russell Telecom decided that the feature rich NEC SV8100 telephone system would suit the charityʼs requirements ideally. SV8100 is the latest digital and IP phone system from NEC and has been specifically designed for small and medium businesses and organisations.

NEC black phone The system includes an integrated digital voicemail, which not only provides a night and day service and auto attendant but also provides call recording. Daft as a Brush was provided with a hybrid IP solution combining a Legacy-type phone system and IP system for external calls, allowing a full 24/7 call answering service. The organisation was supplied with handsets with digital display, call recording and speed dial functionality.

Finally, Russell Telecom analysed the organisation’s telephone usage and costs and have forecast a cost reduction in telephone bills using the new call package.



The organisation has benefited from the ‘best of both worlds’ telecoms solution chosen in terms of increased efficiency in communication between its operations centre and its team staffing its fleet of ambulances. The call recording and out of hours call system have also benefited the organisation’s ability to deploy vehicles more efficiently to areas of need and at shorter notice than was previously possible.

Brian Burnie, the charity’s chief executive, commented:

I really can’t fault Russell Telecom in their approach and the solution they provided for us. They were spot-on with the service they provided and I can thoroughly recommend them.

Russell Telecom’s solution has also served to reduce the ongoing telecoms running costs as a more suitable and cost-effective tariff has been chosen for the client