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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

£4 million earmarked for new ambulances

The Welsh Ambulance Service will get almost £4m for a major upgrade of its fleet of vehicles, Health Minister Mark Drakeford announced today.
The new funding will enable the service to buy 41 new vehicles, including emergency ambulances and specialist rapid response vehicles, to replace existing ambulance fleet.
The ambulance service currently has 736 vehicles covering an area of more than 8,000 square miles in Wales. The new vehicles will help contribute to a more reliable, better equipped, and more efficient emergency ambulance service.

The new ambulances will ensure patients are treated in the best clinical environments possible using the latest equipment. The new vehicles will reduce overall operating costs for the Welsh Ambulance Service as they will be more fuel efficient.

The latest ambulance service performance figures reveal the demands placed on the service with 35,570 emergency calls during June 2014. They also show that immediately life-threatening incidents, which needed an emergency ambulance response, have increased by 30% over the last five years.

The £3.833m investment for new fleet will allow the ambulance service to buy:
  • 14 emergency ambulances;
  • 15 large patient care service vehicles;
  • four small patient care service vehicles;
  • two health courier service vehicles; 
  • six specialist vehicles.
Professor Drakeford said: “The demands placed on the ambulance service in Wales every day of the year are significant. The service receives tens of thousands of emergency calls every month and life-threatening incidents have risen by almost a third over the past five years.

“This is why we are continuing to invest in the ambulance fleet to make sure modern, reliable vehicles are available to respond to sick and injured patients. This new funding will help provide high-quality clinical services, improve the comfort and care to patients and offer a much better working environment for ambulance service staff.”

Heather Ransom, Head of Resource for the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: "The Trust welcomes the continued support from the Welsh Government for its vehicle replacement scheme. Not only will the new vehicles improve the comfort and safety of our patients but also the working conditions for our staff.

“Regularly replacing ageing vehicles ensures our fleet remains modern, reliable and fit for purpose. The investment will allow us to continue to improve the quality of our services for the people of Wales and enhance patient care."

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