THE Welsh Ambulance Service has unveiled more high-tech additions to its fleet.
The new vehicles have taken pride of place in the Trust’s Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service, which takes people to and from their routine hospital appointments and discharges people home after a stay in hospital.
The latest features include USB ports, patient call buttons and entertainment systems to improve the experience of those on board.
New handrails make it easier for patients to get on and off the vehicle, and new tail lifts mean crews no longer need to push patients up a ramp, reducing the risk of injury.
The vehicles also boast dementia-friendly flooring, blinds and colour schemes, while improved safety features like seatbelt warning systems, CCTV and driver assistance systems now come as standard.
Mark Harris, the Trust’s Assistant Director of Ambulance Care, said: “The non-emergency arm of our service is all about transporting people to and from their appointments, so having the best possible vehicles is really important to delivering that service.
“We’re immensely proud of the new additions to our fleet, which are the result of a fantastic collaboration of colleagues from across the business, including Fleet, Finance, Operations and Trade Union partners.
“Not only will the new vehicles improve the experience of our staff and patients, but they’re helping to support our decarbonisation agenda by driving down CO2 emissions.”
Among the new additions is a Toyota RAV4 self-charging hybrid car, a custom Ford Transit small ambulance and two refreshed Renault Masters to cater for wheelchair users and patients requiring a stretcher.
The majority of vehicles are speed-limited to improve fuel consumption, and almost all vehicles in the 270-strong non-emergency fleet have been installed with solar panels to minimise the need for mains charging.
David Holmes, Fleet Manager, said: “Modern ambulance vehicles are essential in order that we can continue to provide the best possible experience for our patients.
“They’re also important for staff who can spend hours at a time during the course of a shift operating and driving in these vehicles.
“These vehicles make for an exciting addition to our expanding fleet, and we look forward to rolling them out across Wales.”
Chris Turley, Executive Director for Finance and Corporate Resources, added: “The modernisation of our fleet is a piece of work which never stops.
“The new features of these vehicles are without a doubt impressive, but what’s as important to us is their improved efficiency.
“As Wales’ national ambulance service spread over an area of 8,000 square miles, lowering our emissions and reducing our carbon footprint is something we’re very committed to.
“With demand on our service increasing year-on-year, it’s more important than ever to have a fleet which literally keeps the wheels turning on our ambulance service.”