“The NHS is the largest
public-sector emitter of carbon emissions in the UK” (ePowerTrucks 2022). As part of a 2.1-million-pound investment, eight ambulance trusts are trialing 21 zero-emission vehicles. The goal is to relieve pressure on ambulance services while simultaneously reducing their carbon footprint.
These electric vehicles require less maintenance cost and emit less carbon footprint, thus making NHS services greener and more efficient.
The NHS is the first health service in the world to commit to hitting net zero by 2040.Each Trust is committed to reducing carbon emissions in the coming years. This includes removing over half a million vehicles off the road. It will only make a difference in the level of carbon emissions emitted but will also improve the health outcomes of people in the U.K.
Six of the 21 new green vehicles will be dedicated to responding to mental health needs in the community. The goal is to reduce emergency response times for people experiencing mental health crisis, an important addition to mental health care in the U.K.
The new dedicated mental health response vehicles are equipped with a new design to support patients. Although they still carry the necessary equipment to respond to life threatening emergencies, they are designed with an interior that does not reflect a clinical setting and comes with fewer fluorescent markings. The goal is to provide a safe space for mental health patients to feel supported and calm.
Aside from the vehicles dedicated to responding to mental health, others are equipped to attend less severe emergencies. The remaining vehicles are designed to transfer critically ill patients between high-dependency units. The aim is to reduce ambulance response times, reduce pressure on ambulance services, and ensure patients reach the right location to receive treatment in time.
James Cook, Director for Community Care, Mental Health and Ambulance Improvement Support at NHS England, said, "these new vehicles are an important addition to our emergency fleet and will change the way we deliver care in the community - helping us see more patients whilst reducing demand on traditional doube crewed ambulances. All while helping the NHS meet its broader green ambitions".
Image Credit: iStock