St John Ambulance upgrades fleet with new MAN box-body vehicles

St John Ambulance is upgrading its fleet with 35 new MAN box-body ambulances, which are lighter, more spacious and cheaper to operate than its existing vehicles.

The new vehicles, developed in collaboration with Wietmarscher Ambulanz, MAN Group and St John Ambulance volunteers, will replace the oldest of the Charity’s 250-strong fleet.

One key advantage is they can be driven on a B-licence, which will in time make them much more cost-effective for the charity. The environmental impact has also been improved, when comparing them to other style ambulances. 

Rob Macintosh, national fleet manager, at St John Ambulance, said: “Adding these vehicles to our fleet is a huge step forward for us, they use less fuel, require less maintenance and the upgraded engines mean that we are also making emissions savings. The multi-functional aspect of these new ambulances means that we can elongate their life span by rotating them on different types of duties. They’ll make a big difference to us now and into the future”. 

St John Ambulance has raised in excess of £3m in fundraising and legacy money over the past few years to kick start this vehicle replacement programme. It will eventually bring all the charity's vehicles to less than ten years old, making the overall fleet more reliable, efficient and cost effective. 

From a patient perspective, the smoother drive and improved handling combined with the built-in Stryker stretcher and bespoke Ferno Stair Chair loading system, make for a much more comfortable experience. It is also less daunting for older or nervous users, as the old tail-lift alternative was particularly noisy.  

The work that St John carries out is varied, and the previous fleet was divided between emergency and event vehicles. These new multi-purpose ambulances will rotate across both offerings, meaning they will be much more durable and will not require so much maintenance, as mileage management will be able to be maintained - another long-term reduction of cost.

The modular design means that they will be much more intuitive for volunteers, which brings the added benefit of extra safety for patients, and ease of cleaning and re-kitting. 

Craig Harman, St John Ambulance’s national ambulance and community response director, added: “Having consulted with staff and volunteers at every stage of the development of our new fleet, we are confident that they provide a much-improved experience for both them and our patients. The new design gives us a larger operating space and familiarity across all vehicles which will save time and enhance the patient experience. All in all, they will make a huge difference to the work that we do, and I can’t wait to see them out on the road”. 

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