Belfast Telegraph

Fifty new ambulances as part of multimillion euro investment

Fifty new ambulances are to be purchased and another 35 refurbished as part of a multimillion euro investment announced by the Department of Health.

The 18 million euro cash injection should see the fleet of emergency vehicles expand to 268 by the end of the year.

Health Minister Leo Varadkar said: "The introduction of over 150 vehicles in 2015 and 2016 is a real boost for the ambulance service.

"It allows us to replace older vehicles and expand services, especially in non-emergency transport. Moving patients from high to lower acuity facilities means that patient flow in our major hospitals will improve, which should help to ease pressure on our emergency departments.

"Replacing older vehicles will also help reduce costs and improve reliability. Our ambulances and crews cover enormous distances every year. It is vital that we continue to invest in and upgrade our fleet, so that our highly trained paramedics can give the best service they can, when our patients need it. I am delighted that additional resources will be provided to the ambulance service in 2016, to ensure ongoing improvements in service delivery."

Ten intermediate care vehicles, for non-emergency hospital transfers will also be bought, along with a number of new rapid response vehicles.

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