New ambulance for obese patients

A SECOND specially-designed ambulance, capable of transporting obese patients, is set to be rolled out in Suffolk by the end of the month.The vehicle, owned and operated by St John Ambulance Suffolk, has been designed with input from health care professionals and engineering specialists.

A SECOND specially-designed ambulance, capable of transporting obese patients, is set to be rolled out in Suffolk by the end of the month.

The vehicle, owned and operated by St John Ambulance Suffolk, has been designed with input from health care professionals and engineering specialists.

The ambulance is an upgrade to an earlier model already operated by the transport team from the charity, after they became increasingly involved in transporting more overweight patients.

“Over the last few years, we have been called to assist NHS ambulance and hospital trusts with the transportation of a number of obese patients around the country,” commented St John Ambulance's transport services co-ordinator, Keith Hotchkiss.


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“These individuals - known as bariatric patients - often demand a vehicle with very specific capabilities in terms of size and weight-bearing ability.

“Because our team was receiving the majority of requests for such tasks around the UK, it was here at Suffolk St John Ambulance that we began designing a vehicle to fulfil the requirement more appropriately.”

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For the past 18 months, St John Ambulance Suffolk, based in Bramford, near Ipswich, has achieved its transporting obligations with one bariatic-focused ambulance, and its specialist trained ambulance team.

But last year it was decided an updated version should be put into production to supplement their existing bariatric vehicle.

“We decided to build on the success of the original version and currently have a further vehicle in production at Assetco Papworth,” added Mr Hotchkiss.

“So far it has been in production for three weeks and we anticipate having it on the road by the end of January.”

Among its many roles, St John Ambulance provides transport for patients across the UK, as part of its commercial transport activity.

Anyone interested in joining St John Ambulance can contact the county office on Ipswich 241500.

St John Ambulance website

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