Scotland’s First Electric Ambulance Unveiled at Annual Review

 Tuesday 21 August 2012

Health Secretary, Nicola Sturgeon, today (Tuesday 21 August 2012) attended the unveiling of Scotland’s first electric ambulance as part of the Scottish Ambulance Service Annual Review.

The new electric vehicle will be trialled by the Patient Transport Service, which takes patients who have a medical or mobility need to and from healthcare appointments.  There are no carbon emissions from the ambulance and it has a range of approximately 100 miles between charges, depending on operational use. It can be charged in around 5 hours. Other than a much quieter journey, patients will notice no difference from a normal patient transport ambulance.

The introduction of the electric ambulance is part of a wider investment to upgrade the Patient Transport Service, which undertakes 1.2 million journeys every year, with a new direct booking system for patients and state of the art mobile technology in all vehicles. The new system has been launched in the north and west of Scotland and goes live in the east of the country later this year. It is delivering a more accessible and personal service for patients that has greater flexibility to better meet their needs.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said:
“Our hardworking ambulance staff do a fantastic job and are now achieving their fastest average response times to life threatening emergencies – a great achievement.
“But the SAS provides much more than an emergency response, as the work of the patient transport service demonstrates. The Scottish Ambulance Service are making good progress in delivering a substantial improvement programme, ensuring that this vital service can support patients, for example those with mobility issues, to access their healthcare appointments.
“Our NHS is embracing new technologies – and not only are these electric ambulances environmentally friendly, they also support the best possible patient care.”

David Garbutt, Chairman of the Scottish Ambulance Service said:
“During the year we improved the average response time for life threatening emergencies in Scotland to 6.7 minutes from 6.9 minutes the previous year. We are responding faster than ever before to more very serious incidents than, despite the continued increase in demand for ambulances.

“Emergency teams answered over 800,000 calls and responded to more than 600,000 incidents across the country.  All calls are prioritised so that those with the greatest clinical need receive the fastest response and 78.3% of cardiac arrest patients were reached within eight minutes - an improvement from last year’s figure of 77.4%.

“The air ambulance service flew 3,647 missions, mainly serving island and remote communities across Scotland.

“Investment in additional clinical advisors in Ambulance Control Centres, along with enhanced decision support for crews, has resulted in an increase in patients who are treated at scene. This initiative resulted in 57,997 patients avoiding unnecessary attendance at A&E departments.

“All of our staff recognise that the patient is at the heart of everything that we do. Our staff continue to demonstrate their dedication and commitment to patients, delivering care in what are sometimes very challenging situations, with sensitivity and understanding.

“We continued to manage resources effectively for the benefit of patients and once again met financial targets for the year, achieving efficiency savings of £7.5 million which were reinvested into patient care.”