The MAN ambulances are replacing older vehicles in the fleet, and were designed after consultation with frontline crews to ensure their suitability for the demands of caring for patients in the capital. In response to a survey, over 400 clinicians submitted ideas and suggestions for the new ambulances which were built in Germany by a manufacturer specialising in emergency vehicles.
Rob Macintosh, head of Fleet at London Ambulance Service (LAS), said: “We worked with our ambulance crews to design a vehicle that is safe and reliable for both our patients and our people. We are really excited by the new ambulances, which are more accessible and use a powered system to load the stretcher, which will make things easier for our crews. They are more energy-efficient and digitally enabled for the future. They also have an asset management system that tracks our emergency equipment and notifies staff if anything is lost or needs replacing.”
The fully equipped ambulances cost £156,000, and will be paid for by internal capital and money that LAS secured from commissioners.
A further 11 MAN ambulances and 112 ambulances have been ordered. All the new ambulances are lightweight, ‘greener’ and more efficient than the Service’s current ambulances, and meet the clean air zone targets in London, the most stringent in the country.
Because the MAN ambulances are the first of their kind in England, they have had to undergo rigorous evaluation by academics and ambulance experts. Rob Macintosh inspected the vehicle against a 950 point checklist, before a team of professors from Loughborough University conducted an ergonomic evaluation to ensure that the ambulances are safe, reliable, and easy to use. The ambulance has been crash-tested and its fuel consumption, emissions, brake-fading, and handling also checked.
All the new ambulances are fitted with a crew safety system to help keep clinicians safe. The system includes video cameras, panic buttons, and electronic tracking.
They will also contribute to the Service’s efforts to comply with the ultra-low emission zone in London and to reach its zero emission goal by 2030. Meanwhile four fully electric ambulances are expected to be delivered to LAS later this year.