Obese to benefit from expanded ambulance
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.”
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