PARAMEDICS are taking to the hills across Staffordshire in a new fleet of 4×4 ambulances after West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) took delivery of 16 of the new specially designed emergency vehicles.
The 4×4 Mercedes ambulances will give the service much more capability to get to patients in difficult weather and muddy off-road conditions.
WMAS currently has one of the most modern 999 fleet of any ambulance service in the country with over 300 ambulances and 200 rapid response vehicles. It is planned that one of the 4×4 vehicles will be based at each ambulance hub around the region, including Stafford,able to be used the same as an everyday ambulance.
Craig Cooke, WMAS Support Services Director, said: “The new vehicles will mean that for the first time we will have a full size ambulance with 4×4 capabilities. This investment in new vehicles will help us provide high quality clinical services to people who suffer serious injuries or medical conditions when they are out and about on uneven and difficult to access terrain.
"This should improve the comfort and care to patients and offer a much better working environment for our staff. "
Assistant Area Manager Nigel Wells added: “The fully automatic 4×4 system is very simple to use and will give staff greater access to patients in challenging conditions. They will come into their own during the winter months and will add an extra dimension to the ambulance service when responding to emergency calls.
“A number of ambulance staff recently attended the Prodrive test facilities in Warwickshire along with Mercedes training staff to use the vehicles off road. WMAS driver trainers also attended and will be passing on their knowledge to all frontline staff who will all be trained to use the vehicles over the coming months.”
The cost of one of the new 4×4 ambulances is £140,000 compared to £100,000 for a normal new two wheel drive ambulance.”