4x4s boost for ambulance service

The Scottish Ambulance Service has invested in 10 new 4x4 vehicles designed to help tackle extreme weather conditions.

It has received eight of the accident and emergency vehicles, and a further two are expected by the end of the month. It had already taken delivery of 12 vehicles last month.

Equipment being invested in include snow tyres and chains for 53 of its vehicles.

The boost follows December's heavy snow conditions requiring the service to draft the Army to transport Ambulance staff to patients in military 4x4 vehicles.

Pauline Howie, chief executive of the Scottish Ambulance Service, said the new vehicles would "further enhance the capability of our existing 4x4 fleet to cope with severe weather and difficult terrain".

She added: "Our staff worked tirelessly through horrendous conditions, keeping the 999 service running as well as transport to regular hospital treatment for renal, oncology and cardiac cases, often putting the well-being of patients before their own.

"We continuously review contingency arrangements for response to major incidents and extreme situations."

Health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: "I am delighted that the Scottish Ambulance Service is to further enhance the resilience of its emergency service with the delivery of a fleet of new vehicles that can be used during extreme winter weather of the sort that we experienced recently.

"Ambulance crews work hard to provide the best patient care at all times but these new vehicles will assist staff experiencing difficult driving conditions and challenging terrain."

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