More than 140 new ambulances for East Midlands Ambulance Service before the end of March
More than 140 new ambulances will be answering 999 calls across the East Midlands before the end of March.
East Midlands Ambulance Service is also investing in extra clinical staff and says it will have more than 280 new employees signed up by the end of the financial year.
Between now and the end of December, 47 urgent care ambulances will be introduced across the East Midlands to support newly recruited urgent care assistants.
Following the recent introduction of 68 new accident and emergency ambulances, a further 67 will come into service between December and March.
Of these 40 are replacements and 27 are additional vehicles.
The changes are all part of an £8.7 million investment in EMAS’s fleet.
It is hoped that the new capacity will help the service deal with winter pressures which it predicts could cause a rise in demand of more than three per cent on last year.
East Midlands Ambulance Service has an overall fleet is 639 vehicles, which includes 70 non-emergency/non-urgent patient transport vehicles.
EMAS chief executive Richard Henderson said: “We know we will be busy and we know that at times we will have to prioritise patients, treating those with urgent and immediately life-threatening injuries and conditions first and asking others to wait until crews become available.
“There is no one single thing that will ease demand but we all have a part to play.
“We continue to work with all hospitals across our region to reduce delays when handing over patients at accident and emergency departments so that our vehicles are back out on the road as soon as possible.
“We are working closely with GPs and our hospital and community health trust partners to reduce the number of people we take to accident and emergency.
“And we are supporting our staff to help keep them healthy at work and out on the road during what we expect to be a sustained period of high demand.”
As in previous years, EMAS is preparing for demand to rise during December and into January.
Activity is anticipated to be high on key dates such as ‘black eye Friday’ on December 21 and New Year’s Day.
The service says that incidents in December and January are likely to peak at around 4,000 a day, with around 780 each day those coming from the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland division.
In an attempt to stop people making unnecessary trips to A&E on New Year’s Eve, a static ambulance will be based in Leicester city centre from 10pm until 6am on New Year’s Day.
The paramedic crew will treat minor injuries on the spot.
Mr Henderson added: “Last winter was our busiest ever and our existing contingency plans mean we are ready to react to adverse weather or if flu affects large numbers of people.
“We don’t know for sure that these things will happen, but we can safely assume the number of people overall getting ill and needing our help this winter will rise.
“I am confident we have plans in place to ensure we are working as effectively as possible as a trust and as part of the health and care system.
“Meanwhile our longer-term plans will put us in a stronger position as we head for 2020.”