Suffolk/Essex: £17m boost sees ambulance fleet updated

East of England Ambulance Trust

East of England Ambulance Trust - Credit: Archant Norfolk

NEARLY 150 new ambulances will take to the region’s roads as part of a £17million investment.

East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) has confirmed it is spending the money on 145 ambulances and 110 rapid response cars between now and the end of June next year.

The trust is investing about £14m in new emergency ambulances and £2.3m in its response car fleet as part of its rolling vehicle replacement programme.

Paul Henry, associate director of operations support at the trust, said: “The board approved the programme to replace older vehicles and, in addition, to support our work on ambulance capacity and it was agreed that an additional 25 new ambulances over and above the standard replacement service would be brought into service.

“Our fleet team is currently completing the procurement process that will anticipate that 50 of the new ambulances will be in service before Christmas and a further 47 coming into service during March 2014.

“The remaining 48 ambulances are expected to come into service between May and June 2014.” The fleet team will work closely with operational staff representatives to refresh and review the ambulance’s design and specification to ensure it fully meets patient and staff requirements.

The investment has been welcomed by junior health minister and North Ipswich and Central Suffolk MP Dr Dan Poulter.

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He said: “This is fantastic news and long overdue that the ambulance trust has finally woken up to the fact that more resources are needed on the frontline.

“This is something I have been campaigning for since I was elected as MP in 2010, and I am delighted the hard work put in by myself and North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb has paid off.

“This shows the ambulance trust has listened to what we have known for three years, what patients have known and what frontline paramedics have been saying. We now need to make sure this is delivered,”

Fellow Conservative MP Dr Therese Coffey, who represents Suffolk Coastal, added: “This is more welcome news about getting a better level of resource for our residents.

“We need to make sure they are in the right place so people can reliably call on ambulances when they need them.”

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