February 18, 2020

North East Ambulance Service adds 44 Mercedes-Benz Sprinters to frontline fleet

North East Ambulance Service says new regional response time targets for accident and emergency provision prompted the addition of 44 Mercedes-Benz Sprinters to its frontline fleet. 

Supplied by local Dealer Bell Truck & Van, all are 5.0-tonne 519 CDI models with 3.0-litre V6 engines which transmit their 190 hp outputs to the road via optional, seven-speed 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic gearboxes. The medium-length L2 chassis are fitted with fully equipped box bodies by German specialist WAS.

North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (NEAS) runs a Mercedes-Benz-dominated fleet which now extends to 158 emergency ambulances. It operates a rolling renewal programme, typically standing down 16-17 vehicles each year and replacing them with new ones.

However, a recent audit recommended an increase in ambulance numbers to meet tougher new response time targets. 

NEAS Fleet Operations Manager David Parkin said: “The Sprinter was already the mainstay of our fleet, because it works very well for us. It’s tough and durable, so well able to stand up to the job – over a nine-year working life the Mercedes-Benz will be more cost-effective than other products which might be cheaper to buy, but won’t last the pace.”

He continued: “The Sprinter is also well-liked by our crews. The latest generation model’s cab is very comfortable and well-designed, while the V6 engine provides plenty of performance, and the automatic transmission means drivers can concentrate fully on the road.”  

In addition to two crew members, the box bodies carry up to four patients and medics, allowing family members, helicopter emergency medical staff or police officers to be transported safely. The vehicle’s stretcher supports people weighing up to 318kg, and a tail lift with 500kg capacity is fitted.

The ambulance interiors are also specially designed to be more accessible to patients and family members with dementia, learning disabilities, dyslexia and Alzheimer’s disease. Onboard equipment includes defibrillators and spinal boards, while the ambulances are kitted out to serve as mini operating theatres so patients can be treated if necessary before they reach hospital.

“These vehicles are at the forefront of modern ambulance design and will help us offer the best possible emergency medical service to people across the North East,” added David.