Wednesday 7th December 2016 – 12.30pm – Murray MacGregor.
West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) is rolling out 66 of the most advanced ambulances ever seen.
The vehicles, which use technology normally associated with the aerospace industry, come with the key message emblazoned on the rear that there is an alternative to 999. It is part of a joint initiative with NHS England to highlight that patients don’t always need to dial 999 to get urgent care.
WMAS Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “These new ambulances are some of the most sophisticated emergency vehicles in the world. Not only are they packed full of the latest technology to help patients, but they are more comfortable and efficient than ever before, using technology piloted in the aerospace industry.
“I am delighted that we have been able to join with NHS England to highlight that many patients could be helped by using the 111 service leaving 999 for those who have life threatening injuries or illness.”
Dr Helen Thomas, National Medical Advisor for Integrated Urgent Care at NHS England, said: “It’s really good to see the NHS 111 non-emergency number sitting alongside 999 on these ambulances.
“This gives a clear message that 999 is for life-threatening emergencies – but if you’re in need of urgent help and it’s not an emergency there is another number to call – NHS 111.
“The service is now helping around 14 million callers a year to get the right care in the right place, first time – reducing pressure on A&E and 999 services.”
Tony Page, WMAS Fleet General Manager, added: “By using construction methods used in aircraft manufacture we are providing our patients and staff with a quieter and warmer working area. Improvements include better air suspension and more comfortable seating which will provide a better ride and handling.
“The techniques used mean the vehicles are lighter which will improve the handling and reduce fuel and maintenance costs, allowing us to invest even more into front line clinical care.
“We have worked closely with our staff and the manufacturers to design the vehicles so that they are easy to use and easier to clean and restock for our Ambulance Fleet Assistant teams.
“All of the vehicles also include CCTV systems that will help to protect our staff should the worst happen.”
WMAS Communications Director, Murray MacGregor, added: “It is great that we have been able to work with NHS England to get such important messages out to the public by using the side of the ambulances. We first started using this method some years ago and I’m delighted that NHS England see the value of this method of providing information to the public.
“I am equally pleased that we are able to highlight our social media presence on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and You Tube. With around 50,000 followers seeing the updates that we put out on a daily basis, this will allow us to communicate even better with the public of the West Midlands.”
Notes to Editors:
If used, please credit the images to West Midlands Ambulance Service.