Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

No-Deal Brexit May Delay New Ambulances

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

No-Deal Brexit May Delay New Ambulances

Article excerpt

Byline: DANIEL HOLLAND Local democracy reporter daniel.holland@reachplc.com @danhollandnews

DOZENS of new ambulances heading to the North East could get stuck in Europe in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) is due to take delivery of a new set of vehicles this summer, but bosses have warned the trade chaos that could result from the UK leaving the European Union without a withdrawal agreement could delay their arrival. The vehicles are manufactured by German car giant Mercedes and French firm Renault, and there are 44 currently on order and due to arrive this summer.

The bumper delivery will include 13 more ambulances than are usually ordered, which will help cater for the 100 new paramedics and emergency care assistants the service is recruiting.

But should the new ambulances - equivalent to one seventh of the total fleet - not arrive on time, the service will be forced to keep its old fleet on the roads beyond their lifespan.

Yvonne Ormston, NEAS chief executive, told members of Newcastle's Wellbeing for Life Board on Wednesday that the service had advanced deliveries of new ambulances from Germany, effectively "stockpiling" ambulances.

However, a NEAS spokesman later clarified that the new ambulances could not be delivered before the planned Brexit date of March 29.

They said: "The ambulance shelf life is about five years on the front line and seven years in total, after which we replace them.

"This year is slightly different because we have 100 more paramedics coming in, in order to achieve our response times. 100 more paramedics means we need more vehicles to put them in.

"So we have more vehicles in the pipeline this year than we would normally have.

"They are due here in the early part of the summer and we are not anticipating any different to that. …

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