Sixty-nine new emergency ambulances are currently being built using the prototype and will take to the North West roads this winter between November 2022 and February 2023, replacing older vehicles in its fleet.
The new Fiat Ducato vehicles have additional features making them more dementia friendly for patients. This includes changing the light blue flooring found in some of the service’s older ambulance vehicles to a grey flooring. Each new ambulance features seats with contrasting yellow piping around their edges making the parameters of the seat visible and easier to identify. They will all be fitted with a blind on the side window which features a countryside scene picture using green and blue colours, which are naturally relaxing.
NWAS Head of Mental Health, Learning Disability and Autism Lesley Jones said: “Creating a more user-friendly environment for patients who require ambulance conveyance, can help individual’s patients feel less anxious and distressed. The blind is a great talking point for crews as they provide care to patients who may be feeling upset or anxious.”
In addition, NWAS has ensured it has kept space for wheelchairs to be conveniently stowed onboard near the vehicle’s rear doors. It remains the only ambulance service in the country to currently store wheelchairs on its ambulances.
Assistant Director of Estates and Fleet Neil Maher said: “This initiative is part of the trust’s annual fleet replacement programme. The new prototype was designed in line with the national specification for ambulances and using feedback from staff who strongly felt that keeping wheelchair storage was imperative to the design. We hope by making improvements like this, in turn, we continue to improve our patient’s experience of receiving care.”
The new vehicles will be distributed throughout the North West from November this year. Stations in Greater Manchester will get 19 new ambulances, Cumbria and Lancashire will get 17 new vehicles, and Cheshire and Merseyside will get 33 new vehicles.