Thursday 3rd July 2014 – 9.45am – John Hawker.
A fleet of new 4×4 ambulances is set to hit the region’s roads after West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) took delivery of 16 of the new specially designed emergency vehicles.
The ambulance trust is continuing with a ‘significant’ investment in vehicle replacements and the new 4×4 Mercedes ambulances will give the Trust much more capability to get to patients in difficult weather and muddy off-road conditions.
WMAS currently has one of the most modern 999 fleet of any ambulance service in the country with over 300 ambulances and 200 rapid response vehicles. It is planned that one of the 4×4 vehicles will be based at each ambulance hub around the region, able to be used the same as an everyday ambulance.
Craig Cooke, WMAS Support Services Director, said: “The new vehicles will mean that for the first time we will have a full size ambulance with 4×4 capabilities. This investment in new vehicles will help us provide high quality clinical services to people who suffer serious injuries or medical conditions when they are out and about on uneven and difficult to access terrain. This should improve the comfort and care to patients and offer a much better working environment for our staff.
Assistant Area Manager, Nigel Wells, said: “The new Mercedes 4×4 sprinter has been developed with staff and Mercedes to ensure they meet all the requirements of both the patient and the staff. The fully automatic 4×4 system is very simple to use and will give staff greater access to patients in challenging conditions. They will come into their own during the winter months and will add an extra dimension to the ambulance service when responding to emergency calls.
“A number of ambulance staff recently attended the Prodrive test facilities in Warwickshire along with Mercedes training staff to use the vehicles off road. WMAS driver trainers also attended and will be passing on their knowledge to all frontline staff who will all be trained to use the vehicles over the coming months.”
The cost of one of the new 4×4 ambulances is £140,000 compared to £100,000 for a normal new two wheel drive ambulance.”
There are three videos, an audio file and a selection of photographs accompanying this press release that can be found at http://www.officialwmas.wordpress.com
Shame staff dont want to use the vehicles and they are not good off road.
Thanks for your comment Lilth. Not sure that we entirely agree with it. A number of staff actually quite like them, though we’ve heard quite afew comments about teh differneces between them and the normal Fiats. Equally, if used to their full potential, they are pretty impressive off road – certainly, there have been a numebr of occasions when crews have been quite clear that these ambulances have got to a patient when there was no chance that a ‘normal’ ambulance would have got there. Very often it is experience of how the systems operate that stops them being used to their full capability. Thanks again for your comment
After using them for 6 years now would you say they were a good investment or is there cheaper alternatives out there now.?
Apologies for the delayed response.
I guess the simple answer to your question is that we have just bought a new fleet of the Mercedes 4×4, so yes, i think we like them. There is no question they are smaller than our other ambulances, but i feel confident that our fleet department would not have re-invested in such vehicles if they didn’t think they were the best for the job.