Fleet of 38 new £100,000 low-carbon ambulances from German-maker Fiat Ducato are feared HEALTH HAZARDS after driver escaped death when accelerator got stuck to floor
- Ambulances pulled from roads after driver’s accelerator got stuck on October 3
- Part of fleet-of-38 converted by German manufacturer which arrived in August
- Cost nearly £100k each and have self-loading stretchers and intercom system
- Rectified Fiat Ducao ambulances were back on the road after 18 hours
- East of England Ambulance Service Trust hopes there will be 226 by April
Low-carbon ambulances are being pulled from the roads due to a lethal fault with their accelerator pedals after a driver’s pedal got stuck.
This comes just two weeks after a driver nearly crashed when the pedal in the Fiat Ducato ambulance became stuck while travelling in Norfolk on October 3.
The new, lighter ambulances were converted by Europe’s largest specialist medical vehicle manufacturers Wietmarscher Ambuluanz- und Sonderfahrzeug GmbH and were bought by an NHS trust at nearly £100,000 each.
They arrived in August and were created to provide a more comfortable ride for patients by allowing family members to sit with them and medics to work around them.
Thirty-eight Fiat Ducato ambulance’s (pictured) were pulled from the roads after a driver nearly crashed when the pedal in their ambulance became stuck while travelling in Norfolk on October 3. The fleet arrived in August and were created to provide a more comfortable ride for patients by allowing family members to sit with them and medics to work around them
The fleet contain automatic self-loading stretchers so staff loading patients do not need to push them up a ramp and camera and intercom system which enables the clinician to communicate with their colleague looking after a patient in the back.
And are claimed to be ‘more efficient’ and release far lower CO2 emissions, fuel costs and maintenance costs, according to the NHS.
The East of England Ambulance Service Trust hopes to eventually bring in 226 of the vehicles by April at £21m, saving it an estimated £3.3m every year.
But now the 38 Fiat ambulances will be pulled for safety checks by the government agency.
Europe’s largest specialist medical vehicle manufacturers Wietmarscher Ambuluanz- und Sonderfahrzeug GmbH have developed the new ambulances which cost nearly £10k each (pictured, warehouse)
Seven other ambulances have been modified before being allowed back on the road.
Fiat insists the issue is the fault of the company which converted the standard Fiat Ducato vans and will learn from the incident.
A spokesman said the ambulance ‘was not on an emergency call or had a patient on board, no staff injuries were reported’ and the rectified ambulances were back on the road within 18 hours.
The identity of the individual involved in the car accident remains unknown.
Andreas, Ploeger, the German firm’s managing director, said they have a ‘strong focus on safety’ and are taking the incident in Norfolk very seriously.
The new ambulances contain automatic self-loading stretchers so staff loading patients do not need to push them up a ramp (file image)
The firm has a ‘long-standing working relationship’ with the Ambulance Service and continues to provide ‘bespoke vehicles to meet demands’.
The 38 ambulance’s completed their checks in six hours and the eight needing modification are being carried out straight away.
A number of different companies are believed to have been used to convert van bodies into ambulances for other NHS trusts.
The West Midlands Ambulance Service and East Midlands Ambulance Service which both have Fiat ambulances said they had not had any accelerator problems with their vehicles.
Norfolk Police have been approached for comment about the incident on October 3.