£8.2m to give 90 new vehicles to 999 service
THE Welsh Ambulance Service is set to add 90 new vehicles to its fleet following an £8.2m investment from the Welsh Government.
The funding boost will allow the service to buy 18 new emergency ambulances and 67 non-emergency patient transport vehicles, which often take disabled and vulnerable patients to hospital appointments.
Five new specialist Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) vehicles are also included as part of the investment.
These vehicles are sent to hazardous or challenging incidents and to scenes where there are mass casualties
More than 700 vehicles are currently in the Welsh Ambulance Service’s fleet, and they cover an area of more than 8,000 square miles across Wales.
Director of Operations Richard Lee said: “In Wales, we’re proud to have some of the most up-to-date and bestequipped ambulances to benefit our patients and staff.
“Whether we’re attending emergency calls, taking non-emergency patients to appointments, or providing life-saving care at major incidents, it’s vital that we have a modern fleet capable of responding to everyone’s needs.
“We would like to thank the Welsh Government for its continued support as we aim to further improve the services and quality of care we provide for our patients.”
Since 2011, the Welsh Government has invested almost £45m in new ambulance vehicles for the trust.
Health Secretary Vaughan Gething said: “The Welsh Ambulance Service continues to experience a growing demand for its services every year.
“The £8.2m investment will enable the Welsh Ambulance Service to continue upgrading its existing fleet, allowing the service to deliver the best care for people in Wales.
“This will ensure the ambulance service is able to deploy the most appropriate clinician in the most appropriate vehicle, ensuring people receive the quickest response possible.”
Demand for the Welsh Ambulance Service normally increases year on year.
According to latest figures, 459,225 emergency ambulance calls were made during 2016-17.
That was up 2.1% on 2015-16 and a rise of 116% on 1991-92.
Of those, 20,511 (4.3%) were classed as Red – or immediately life-threatening. Last year, 76.3% of Red calls received a response within eight minutes, achieving the Welsh Government’s 65% target. .
Mr Lee added: “As an emergency ambulance service, we have to reserve our precious resources for those who need them most – that’s patients whose lives are in imminent danger and patients who are seriously ill or injured.
“For everything else, there’s a whole suite of alternatives.
“As we head into winter, we need people more than ever to heed this advice – let’s keep emergency ambulances for emergencies.”