Obese to ben­e­fit from ex­panded am­bu­lance

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - FAMILY ALBUM -

PA­TIENTS with mo­bil­ity prob­lems will soon ben­e­fit from a fleet of new am­bu­lances to ferry them to hospi­tal ap­point­ments.

The East Kent Hos­pi­tals NHS Trust has com­mis­sioned 18 new am­bu­lances for pa­tients re­quir­ing free hospi­tal trans­port, in­clud­ing one spe­cially de­signed for the obese.

Seven of th­ese up­graded am­bu­lances, which are more spa­cious with im­proved equip­ment and but­ton-con­trolled hy­draulic lifts, will be based at the William Har­vey Hospi­tal.

The am­bu­lances, which have been leased at a cost of £622,000 for three years, will be rolled out by next April.

One of the am­bu­lances in the fleet, which will serve all five east Kent hos­pi­tals, will be spe­cially de­signed for the obese.

It will trans­port pa­tients who weigh 24 stone or more, or those near­ing that weight who have lim­ited mo­bil­ity.

It will have wider stretches, a hoist, and a wider wheel base to make it stronger.

The trust cur­rently trans­ports up to 800 pa­tients a day to and from its hos­pi­tals, in­clud­ing the Royal Vic­to­ria Hospi­tal in Folkestone.

Act­ing trust chief ex­ec­u­tive Ru­pert Eg­gin­ton said: “Pro­vid­ing trans­port for pa­tients to hospi­tal and clin­ics is a very im­por­tant ser­vice be­cause many of them, es­pe­cially the el­derly, have dif­fi­culty get­ting to ap­point­ments.

“We have an age­ing pop­u­la­tion in east Kent and the de­mands on health­care trans­port are in­creas­ing.

“We need to help pa­tients to get to and from ap­point­ments and th­ese am­bu­lances will do that.”

Pic­ture by Barry Duffield pd1208847

James Bryden and Ch­eryl Blanche, pa­tient trans­port, Irene Hay­ward, head of health care trans­port, Ru­pert Eg­gin­ton act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive and John Phillips cus­tomer ser­vices man­ager

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