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Ambulance service's £50m three-year investment in fleet of 577 new vehicles nears the end of the road

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The ambulance service for Hertfordshire and Essex is continuing the upgrade of its fleet of 500-plus vehicles, with the final 50 being rolled out from April.

East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) has invested nearly £50m in 490 new ambulances to make transfers more comfortable for patients while improving safety for crews and the care they provide.

Its fleet replacement programme began in 2019-20 when 214 bespoke vehicles took to the roads. A further 226 are being replaced this financial year (2020-21) and will be responding to patients by April. The final 50 ambulances in EEAST’s fleet will be replaced from 2021-22.

New EEAST vehicles (44487848)
New EEAST vehicles (44487848)

In addition, EEAST is delivering 32 specially-designed Volkswagen vans in the coming weeks for its ambulance officers. They have more space, enabling medics to carry a wider range of life-saving equipment.

Finally, 19 new vehicles specially designed for patients who have suffered falls or mental health issues have been leased and delivered, along with 36 replacement vehicles for the trust’s non-emergency patient transport service.

All of the vehicles have been developed following consultation with staff, trade unions and – where appropriate – patients and carers, so that EEAST can ensure they will meet the needs of the people using them.

Chris Wiltshire, EEAST’s head of fleet, said: “We are delighted that our ambulance replacement programme is nearing completion with the rollout of these fantastic new vehicles.

“The ambulances have been designed to make transfers smoother and more comfortable for patients and to create a safer working environment for crews as they provide the care to patients.

“The vehicles are also significantly lighter than our existing fleet, making them more efficient and environmentally-friendly as CO2 emissions, fuel costs and maintenance will be reduced. This will save more than £3m annually when all of the vehicles have been replaced later this year.

“The new specialist vehicles for our ambulance officers have much more space, in turn allowing them to carry more life-saving equipment and manage incidents on scene more effectively.”

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