The Welsh Ambulance Service has added 67 Renault Master ambulances to its fleet, to help with non-emergency patient transport.
The new ambulances will be used to transport people to and from routine outpatient appointments at clinics, hospitals and day centres, playing a major role in the 1.5 million journeys that the service completes each year for patients.
Specially converted to the fleet’s individual requirements, the new Renault Masters allow a wide spectrum of patients to be easily catered for, including those who require stretchers, wheelchair users and those who have limited walking mobility.
Funded by the Welsh Government, the new vehicles are replacements for a number of the Welsh Ambulance Service’s existing eight-year-old Renault Masters, many of which have now covered in the region of over 200,000 miles.
The Renault Master makes up the vast majority of the organisation’s Non Emergency Patient Transport Services (NEPTS) vehicles, accounting for more than 220 of the near 280-strong fleet.
Powering the ambulances is a 2.3-litre dCi 110 engine. All the vehicles are based on the Business+ trim, which provides air conditioning, electric windows, Hill Start Assist and multi-function trip computer. Additionally, the vehicles are specified the optional MediaNav multimedia system with seven-inch touchscreen, DAB and Bluetooth.
David Holmes, national fleet manager, Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust, said: “The Renault Master has been our ambulance vehicle base of choice for many years and it’s proved to be perfect for our needs time and time again, offering good value against rival vehicles, a high specification and, importantly, excellent durability and reliability.
“The front-wheel drive Master lends itself particularly well to the conversion as the low floor height, combined with the large sliding side door, provides generous access for more mobile patients and crews alike. Our teams find them a comfortable drive and another important bonus is that these latest, more efficient versions will enable us to make fuel savings and reduce the impact our journeys have on the surrounding environment.”
Vincent Tourette, managing director, Groupe Renault UK, added: “We are delighted that the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust has reaffirmed its confidence in the Renault Master with this significant order. Importantly, it not only highlights how appealing the Renault Master is and the exceptional long-term reliability and durability it offers, but also the expertise and benefits that the Renault Accredited Converter programme offers. We are immensely proud to have a product and a specialised facility that has played a major role in helping people across Wales travel comfortably and safely to essential medical appointments for more than 20 years.”
The Renault Master can form the basis of built-to-order specialised conversions that include welfare units, ambulances, temperature-controlled vans, horseboxes, transporters, ‘cherry pickers’ with cranes and platforms, minibuses, motorhomes and campers, and construction vehicles.
Renault’s off-the-shelf factory conversions include Tipper, Platform Cab, Dropside, Luton LoLoader and Box Van variants.