West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) has awarded a £21 million contract to O&H Vehicle Conversions (O&H) “to supply the Trust with more than 200 of the most technically advanced and efficient ambulances to date”, according to WMAS.
O&H will supply WMAS with 220 double-crewed, front line ambulances over the next four years.
WMAS is one of the few ambulance trusts to rigidly follow a five-year frontline fleet replacement policy.
O&H uses lighter, stronger aerospace-type build materials that increase vehicle durability and lower weight, reducing fuel consumption and cutting CO2 emissions according to the company.
Tony Page, fleet services general manager, said: “O&H scored well in the tender process. The vehicle layout and engineering ideas they included were first rate and the steps they have taken to reduce vehicle weight are first class.
“Along with our staff, our emergency vehicles are our most important asset. The five-year replacement policy means that staff can respond using a modern, good quality ambulance fleet that is reliable and efficient.
“We have been working with our staff and O&H to come up with an innovative design that will mean better working conditions, and that will make it easier to provide good quality, comfortable care to patients in their hour of need.
“Our ambulances will be easier to drive and more fuel efficient, with lower CO2 emissions and less wear and tear; we are also looking at the introduction of lithium ion battery technology and solar panels.
"This all ultimately saves money that can be reinvested in recruiting more paramedics, which can only be a good thing for patients."
WMAS covers an area of 5,000 square mile, with a population of 5.5 million. It was the only English ambulance trust to exceed every performance metric in 2015-16.