• Ambulance trusts handed £36.3m capital for new vehicles and infrastructure
  • London and Yorkshire trusts among winners
  • Move comes amid concerns about ambulance capacity going into next winter 

Ambulance trusts will receive £36.3m of capital funding for new vehicles and infrastructure following a major capacity shortage last winter, the Department of Health and Social Care announced.

Health minister Stephen Barclay said the investment would help procure “256 new state of the art vehicles, more than half of which will be on the road for this winter”.

HSJ understands the funding comes amid concerns about ambulance capacity ahead of what is set to be another chastising winter for ambulance providers.

Ambulance chiefs were also privately concerned by the lack of funding they were allocated from the £335m of winter pressures funding, which was largely used to plug acute trust deficits, senior sources familiar with the issue told HSJ.

A DHSC statement said London Ambulance Service was using its £3.85m share to purchase 25 double crewed ambulances. Yorkshire Ambulance Service Trust plans to spend its £7.5m share on 62 double crewed ambulances.

Investment will also be used to support infrastructure at ambulance trust headquarters to allow better restocking and maintenance of vehicles, the DHSC said.

NHS England medical director for acute care Keith Willett said: “This additional investment will help ambulance trusts to deliver the quality of service and excellent patient outcomes that are at the heart of the ambulance response programme.”

Mr Barclay said: “In some of the most worrying and vulnerable moments in our lives, dedicated ambulance staff are there, providing expert, calm and reassuring care to patients in often highly pressurised and sometimes dangerous situations.”

Other schemes to get funding included:

  • East of England Ambulance Services Trust: £6.5m for modification of ten of the eighteen key sites to support services for winter 2018-2019.
  • East Midlands Ambulance Service Trust: £5m for funding 37 ambulance vehicles and enhanced paramedic education
  • North West Ambulance Services Trust: £6.6m for an extra 69 paramedic emergency service vehicles.
  • South Western Ambulance Service FT: £6.7m for 63 additional ambulance vehicles