How we help you…………
But from a design point of view, the ambulance has seen little change in the past 30 years or so.
Ambulances were used in the Crimean War just to cart soldiers back from the front line and there has been little change in their function since then.
Three years ago the UK Ambulance service responded to nearly 8 million call outs yet 40% of these didn’t need A&E treatment such is the high quality level of care and treatments available from the paramedic nowadays.Paramedics can prescribe and administer drugs and can discharge their clients on the scene.
So, similar to many other current purchases that the NHS have to make, the purchase of an ambulance requires a constant re-assessment of changing needs and demands.
We work with you
This is where liaison with your local procurement professionals should help you. One of the single biggest purchases we have to make is that of buying an ambulance and we are typically experienced in working alongside health professionals to collaborate in making such evaluations.
We regard this evaluation of the procurement as critical to its success and we know that partnering with the healthcare professional and understanding the objectives of the purchase is fundamental to achieving that success. Indeed we have procurement officers who themselves are experts in their respective areas and we utilise this expertise whenever possible.
What will the vehicle be used for? The need for it to be Basic Life Support (BLS) or Advanced Life Support (ALS) will determine the level of equipment needed. Basic Life Support, non-rescue vehicles, require less equipment to be carried and therefore a smaller vehicle may be used.
Again, will the ambulance for rescue or transport only? Rural or urban? Country usage use may also require the need to carry additional equipment.
What else do we consider?
Given the expense involved and the length of time the ambulance may be in service we have to be aware of the many factors other than those of the clinical requirements in order to come to a decision.
One critical element is that of standardisation and what is recognised as a certified level of quality assurance.
The CEN standard, or BS EN 1789:2000 – Medical Vehicles and their Equipment – Road Ambulances, is a voluntary standard. However, due to the importance of the requirements for ensuring the safety of both patients and paramedics, it has been widely viewed as a purchasing requirement for new ambulances and has therefore been widely adopted within the health industry.
And that is just our starting point.
Historically ambulances have never been designed to maximize fuel efficiency. However,partly due to current emission standards,fuel economy is a hot topic and is one we have to take into serious consideration when checking the features list of an ambulance. Engine size and performance have to be married against economy and many elements come into play when making comparisons. Manufacturer’s economy figures are irrelevant when the extra weight of structural enhancements, equipment and personnel is added to the vehicle.Specifying the implementation of lightweight composite materials has to be weighed against extra cost to achieve such a conversion.
Not all ambulances are created equal. As referred to above they don’t all have the same quality of reinforcement which is integral to an emergency vehicle that spends its life dealing with life and death situations which obviously increase its chances of another accident.
Re-enforcement materials are generally out of sight and part of the basic build of the vehicle. We ensure that Ambulance converters have our minimum standard of essential reinforcement in the vehicle which is a far higher requirement than the usual build.
Extra safety factors
We pay a lot of attention to how personnel and equipment will be secured in the patient compartment. We evaluate whether medics can perform most of their job without the need to leave a safe, secure position. This has not been the standard in the ambulance industry, but in recent years there has been a big push to improve safety for the vehicle occupants.
Availability of parts
There are regulations that address the availability of parts including vehicles manufactured outside the country. However, with the possible impact in turn on parts manufacturers, this is something you should be aware of and question the manufacturer on.
Life of vehicle
There are two practical vehicle “lives.” The first relates to how long you will use the vehicle for. Sometimes this is determined by contract or regulation. In many areas this has been shortened to three years. Other services will base this on internal policy and experience. The second practical life of the vehicle is its aftermarket use. An ambulance that is used for only three years is still a high value vehicle; for some companies as a primary response vehicle, for others a sound back-up vehicle.
All the items above will impact the price you pay. Changing from diesel vehicles will require a change in parts. Incorporating safety features also costs money. But the bottom line is that if you want a structurally sound, safe and green vehicle, it will cost more upfront to purchase. But it will have paybacks. You will save on fuel and, depending on what you choose, you may be able to expect fewer or less severe injuries based on safety design. Only you know your individual reimbursement rates and percentages. Only you can decide whether you will receive a return on your investment but we’ll work with you every step of the way to make your decision easier.