02/04/2009

999 Gets '66 Boost'

News of the delivery of 66 brand new vehicles for the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service has been hailed today as a major step forward.

NI Health Minister Michael McGimpsey announced the delivery of 26 replacement and two additional A&E ambulances as well as 25 Patient Care Service vehicles and 13 Rapid Response Vehicles, which are the first of a range of new vehicles which will added to the ambulance fleet.

The new vehicles will replace older ambulances and is part of a replacement programme, which will ensure that no vehicle will be more than five years old.
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Speaking at the NI Ambulance Service's Headquarters in Knockbracken Healthcare Park, Michael McGimpsey said: "For too many years, the ambulance service has suffered from a lack of investment.

"This fleet of new A&E ambulances, rapid response vehicles and patient care service ambulances will enable ambulance crews to carry out their work in vehicles which are roadworthy, reliable and modern," he said.

Over the next three years more than 150 new vehicles will be deployed throughout Northern Ireland as part of a £17million capital investment in vehicles and equipment.

Liam McIvor, Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, spoke of his delight at seeing the delivery of the new vehicles.

"We have been highlighting for a number of years now the need for ongoing investment in the ageing ambulance fleet.

"The Minister has made the funding available and today we can see the real benefits of that investment."

(BMcC/JM)

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