The Welsh government has announced a £6.7 million investment in 35 new emergency ambulances and six patient transport vehicles to replace older vehicles and upgrade its fleet.
The Welsh Ambulance Service currently has more than 700 vehicles to cover an area of more than 8,000 square miles across Wales.
The Welsh government says the new vehicles will be “more reliable and fuel efficient” and will help reduce running costs.
Upgrading Wales’ ambulance fleet will also mean less time will be needed for repairs and maintenance among frontline emergency response vehicles.
The new ambulances will also provide the best possible clinical environment for patients to be treated in – and, if necessary, transported to hospital for life-saving care.
The patient transport vehicles will be used to ferry patient to hospital for routine appointments.
The latest ambulance service performance figures for Wales show that the Welsh Ambulance Service received more than 36,000 emergency (999) calls in June.
Out of these, a total of 13,199 of those calls were categorised as “red” calls –
the most serious and immediately life-threatening callouts, requiring attendance within eight minutes according to NHS ambulance response time targets.
Figures show that the total number of emergency calls received by the Welsh Ambulance Service increased by 3.8% between 2013-2014 and 2014-2015.
The Welsh government has given nearly £28m to the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust for new vehicles since 2011-2012.
The funding was announced by the Welsh government’s Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford, who said:
“The demands on our ambulance service grow every year – and we are determined to invest in the service to deliver the best service to patients.
“This investment will support frontline operations, by providing the latest vehicles – and responds to increased numbers of emergency calls and a greater need to convey patients to hospital.
“We are continuing to invest in our ambulance service to ensure the fleet is made up of the most modern and reliable vehicles to meet the needs of the sick and injured in Wales.”
Executive Director of Finance and ICT at the Welsh Ambulance Service, Patsy Roseblade, added:
“The trust relies very heavily on its fleet of more than 700 vehicles. It is imperative, therefore, that they are reliable and in good condition to respond to the next emergency.
“The Welsh government vehicle replacement programme enables this to be achieved.
“We’re very grateful to Welsh government for its continued support, which will allow us to improve the quality of our services and enhance patient care.”
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