New multi-million pound ambulances to boost NHS winter fleet

Friday, July 6, 2018

Scores of new ambulances will be on the road ready for winter following a multi-million pound Government investment.

Some 256 "state-of-the-art" vehicles will be added to ambulance fleets, the Department of Health and Social Care said, with more than half available for use this winter.

It is hoped the funding, announced as part of the NHS 70th anniversary week, will improve emergency care for patients.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt described last winter as the "worst ever" for the NHS, with flu outbreaks placing increased demand on services and affecting A&E waiting times.

The £36.3 million investment will lead to an increase in the number of double-crewed ambulances on the road, which can respond to all types of emergency.

London Ambulance Service will increase its fleet with an extra 25 double-crewed ambulances, while Yorkshire Ambulance Service will add 62.

The money will also fund "make ready" hubs at ambulance trust headquarters, where specialist staff will re-stock, refuel and clean vehicles to get them back out faster.

Health minister Stephen Barclay said: "In some of the most worrying and vulnerable moments in our lives, dedicated ambulance staff are there; providing expert, calm and reassuring care to patients in often highly pressurised and sometimes dangerous situations.

"They are there for us 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so we want to make sure that in the 70th year of the NHS we're supporting them with state of the art equipment, meaning they can provide a better service to patients."

Professor Keith Willett, medical director for acute care at NHS England, said the investment would help improve the quality of service and patient outcomes.

He said: "We welcome this additional funding, which will allow ambulance trusts to begin to invest in new fleets and infrastructure ahead of this winter, when we know they will once again come under pressure."

It was announced on Sunday paramedics will be issued with body cameras to protect them from violent attacks, under a pilot scheme involving 465 ambulances.

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