New ambulances to boost NHS fleet next winter

A fleet of new “state-of-the-art” ambulances will boost the service this coming winter.

A £36.3 million investment will see 256 vehicles added to the current total, with half available in the coming months.

It will also pay for “make ready” hubs at ambulance trust headquarters, where specialist staff will re-stock, refuel and clean vehicles to get them back out faster.

Health minister Stephen Barclay said: “In some of the most worrying and vulnerable moments in our lives, dedicated ambulance staff are there; providing expert, calm and reassuring care to patients in often highly pressurised and sometimes dangerous situations.

“They are there for us 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so we want to make sure that in the 70th year of the NHS we’re supporting them with state of the art equipment, meaning they can provide a better service to patients.”

The announcement by the Department of Health and Social Care follows a winter described by the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt as “worst ever” for the NHS.

From December 2017 to March this year the health service struggled to meet waiting time targets despite tens of thousands of elective or non-urgent operations and procedures being postponed to help hospitals deal with pressure.

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The new ambulances will be distributed across the country.London will get an extra 25 double-crewed vehicles, for example, while Yorkshire Ambulance Service will add 62.

Professor Keith Willett, medical director for acute care at NHS England, said: “We welcome this additional funding, which will allow ambulance trusts to begin to invest in new fleets and infrastructure ahead of this winter, when we know they will once again come under pressure.”



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