£8.2m to give 90 new ve­hi­cles to 999 ser­vice

Caernarfon Herald - - NEWS -

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.”

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