Wednesday 5th June 2019 – 8.00am – Murray MacGregor.
West Midlands Ambulance Service is set to maintain its position of being the only ambulance service with no operational vehicles over five years old with the announcement of an order for 300 new ambulances.
The Trust has awarded the contact to VCS vehicle converters of Bradford for delivery over the next three years. The first vehicle is expected to arrive in August.
The new ambulances, which will continue to be based on the Fiat Ducato van, will be designed and manufactured using VCS’s unique ‘Core Capture’ construction method to ensure they are the lightest and most technologically advanced in service anywhere in the world.
Trust Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “Along with our staff, our emergency vehicles are our most important assets. The five-year replacement policy means our staff are able to respond in a modern, high quality, ambulance fleet that is reliable and efficient and as comfortable as possible for patients and staff.
“The vehicles come with completely new equipment on board including the latest defibrillators and monitors.
“The innovation also means that we are saving money which can be reinvested into providing additional paramedics, which can only be a good thing.”
Mark Kerrigan, Technical Director at VCS, added: “Our research and development team has been developing innovative ways of saving weight which will bring a huge reduction in CO2 emissions and reduce fuel costs for WMAS. This includes aerospace-type build materials that increase vehicle durability and reduce wear and tear on the vehicles.
“Using the new materials, we have been able to enhance the crash structures, which will improve safety while also allowing us to work with the Fleet Department and their operational staff to develop enhanced designs which will benefit operational staff and patients alike.”
Tony Page, General Manager for Fleet Services at WMAS, said ‘VCS secured this contract following a very detailed and competitive tendering process, during which they demonstrated a high degree of innovation, engineering capabilities and build quality.
“Their designs also complied with the requirements of the recently published NHS Improvement ‘Carter Report’.
“We are very pleased to be working with a UK based vehicle specialist, building state of the art ambulances that will allow our crews to deliver high quality patient care across the West Midlands.”
So what happens when FIAT issues a recall notice and all vehicles are grounded?
Hi John…as you know vehicles are always being updated, so the chances of them all being affected is unbelievably unlikely. As most services use a single type, this is the same as every service and none of us believe that this is an issue. Hope that helps.
£133,000 per Ambulance?
Once you put all the kit on, yes!
If you go for one of the ‘box’ vans that you see on a Mercedes chassis, which can be seen in a numb er of other services, the cost is considerably more.
Hope that helps
Thank you. That makes sense when fully kitted. I thought that was just the actual ambulance.
What happens to the old vehicles being replaced?
Hi Ola…Currently, as they are almost all leased, they go back to the lease company. They sell them on to a variety of places – some go to other ambulance services, some end up with private providers, some go to auction and take ona new life as anything from a campervan to a burger bar!