Written by Inchcock
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Topics: Obesity, UK, NHS, Ambulances

Saturday, 5 February 2011

image for NHS Ambulance Fleet Upgrades For Obese Patients
Soon to be obsolete Ambulances

The ambulance service is having to upgrade its vehicles because some patients are becoming too fat, information from freedom of information requests show.

Every service in the UK has commenced buying specialist equipment, which includes wider stretchers, more lifting gear and reinforcing existing vehicles.

Bariatric ambulances, which cost as much as £90,000 each, have to be purchased in order to transport the most obese.

Patients weighing in at up to 50 stone (318kg) can be catered for with ambulances designed so that double-width trolley stretchers, hoists and inflatable lifting cushions are incorporated.

With more obese and overweight patients, it mean even standard ambulances are having to be re-equipped with specialist equipment.

Simon Burns MP - Minister of State for Health, commented: "These carry all the necessary equipment to treat bariatric patients, and when not in use for this purpose, they are used to carry other patients.

The vehicles are equipped with double-width trolley stretchers to accommodate patients weighing up to 50st and also include hoists and inflatable lifting cushions. Cushions cost about £2,500 and stretchers £7,000-£10,000 while reinforcing an ambulance tail-lift costs about £800 per vehicle."

"It is for the comfort and safety of the patients we are concerned," continued the Minister, "to this aim we are also installing in each ambulance, a Micro-Wave oven £200, Ice-cream maker £90, a four tiered refrigerator £580, filled will 25 beefburgers, 30 Voodoo doughnuts, and 20 cans of high strength lager."

He added that for a trial period, a pack of 200 untipped cigarettes, bottle of gin and whisky, and a selection of chocolates will be available to patients.

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