New fleet on its way

New Concept Ambulance 2019 – Montage

Trust managers have signed off the ambulance design that will be the cornerstone of our fleet for years to come.

Paul Henry, Deputy Director of Support Operations, Fleet Engineer Chris Wiltshire and staff representative Jeff Pitman with Business Support Manager David Sexby were in Wietmarschen, Germany to make final checks and agree that the FIAT vehicle is ready to go into production.

We expect that 55 vehicles will arrive in the East of England from May, with most taking to the roads to serve the people of Essex and Hertfordshire in the spring. A further 170 will arrive by April 2020; with the complete fleet of nearly 500 vehicles replaced by 2024.

Paul said:

“After so much work with our partners, staff and patients it is brilliant to sign the design off and know that we’re just weeks away from providing crews with some of the most state-of-the-art ambulances in the country. They will give patients a smoother ride while improving safety and the working lives of our crews.”

Jeff Pittman, Health and Safety Officer, said: “The partnership work carried out by the vehicle development team has ensured that all colleagues have had the opportunity to be involved and have their feedback taken on board. Our new concept, low profile ambulance offers improved safety and a better patient experience and environmental benefits of greater fuel efficiency and reduced carbon emissions.”

Improvements and innovations, many suggested by our staff, patients and carers, include:

  • Automatic self-loading stretchers that put an end to staff pushing patients up a ramp or a tail lift – reducing the risk of them injuring their backs and improving patient comfort
  • A camera and intercom system that allows the clinician with the patient in the back to communicate with the driver
  • A new internal layout that makes it easier for paramedics and other clinicians to access equipment when treating a patient
  • Electronic checklists to ensure each ambulance always has the right supplies
  • Sitting low to the ground to improve access for people with mobility problems
  • Restraints designed specifically for children.

Aware of the needs of staff, we have built in cool box facilities and a secure storage area for PPE and personal items.

Chris said: “We looked at research and ambulance design around the world and our new fleet reflects the latest principles for safety, comfort, the environment and clinical practice. We can recoup some of our investment in the years ahead as these vehicles are much more fuel-efficient and maintenance costs are also likely to be lower.”

But the ambulances are only part of the story – they will be supported by a modernised maintenance and logistics service across 18 ‘make ready’ sites and depots.

Look out for more news on that in the days ahead.

Published 12th March 2019

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