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New ambulances for obese

19th March 2008

Paramedics across Wales are to be provided with new ambulances specially designed to help them deal with obese patients.

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The eight new vehicles are extra wide, have a winch to reduce manual handling by ambulance personnel and carry a strengthened stretcher that is capable of carrying up to 50 stones in weight.

The Welsh Ambulance Service has deployed three each of the new vehicles in the south east and north regions of the country and two to cover the central region after figures show that there had been a 25% increase in patients classed as obese.

National Fleet Manager Tony Cowley, who first developed the vehicles when he worked for the ambulance service on Merseyside, said: “Having vehicles like this enables our staff to transport patients with this medical problem without injuring themselves or the patient while also preserving the patient’s dignity.?

The eight vehicles are part of the Welsh Ambulance Service’s high dependency service and do not need a blue light for a full emergency response.

He added: “If there is a call to transport a patient who is above the normal criteria, that is clinically obese, more than 20% above normal body weight, then these vehicles come into their own.?

Mr Cowley said the vehicles would also be a major benefit to his staff.

“Three-quarters of all ambulance staff used to retire early because of back and other physical problems but the equipment on these ambulances, as on our other new vehicles, reduces lifting to a minimum and safeguards our people,? he added.

 

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