New ‘box-body’ ambulances based on MAN TGE vans are to cut costs and CO2 while also enhancing practicality for St John’s Ambulance.
The charity previously had to deploy separate vehicles for its work to provide emergency support for both the NHS and at events. The new ambulance – the result of a 14-month tie-up between Wietmarscher Ambulanz, MAN Group and a number of St John’s Ambulance volunteers and staff – has been developed to offer multi-purpose transport that can enable both types of work.
This in turn brings multiple benefits. The ambulances are much more durable and will not require so much maintenance, but will also cut mileage due to their modular design, bringing a further long-term cost reduction.
The dual-purpose design, which is also more spacious, simplifies use by volunteers and ease of cleaning and re-kitting.
The new vehicles are also lighter with more fuel-efficient engines and a fully automatic gearbox which makes them easier to drive. They can also be driven on a category B licence.
From a patient perspective, they offer a much more comfortable experience, thanks to improved handling but also the built-in Stryker stretcher and bespoke Ferno Stair Chair loading system, which replace the old tail-lift.
Craig Harman, national ambulance and community response director at the charity, said: “Having consulted with staff and volunteers at every stage of the development of our new fleet, we are confident that they provide a much-improved experience for both them and our patients. The new design gives us a larger operating space and familiarity across all vehicles which will save time and enhance the patient experience. All in all, they will make a huge difference to the work that we do, and I can’t wait to see them out on the road.”