As part of a £2.1m investment, eight ambulance trusts are trialling 21 zero-emission vehicles of various types, with six of these dedicated to mental health response in the community.
The new dedicated mental health response vehicles are already in action in the North West and differ in design from traditional ambulances. While they still carry emergency response equipment, they have fewer fluorescent markings and a much less clinical interior.
Other vehicles in the new green fleet include those designed to transfer seriously ill patients to and from High Dependency Units.
The NHS has committed to reaching net zero by 2040, with each Trust agreeing a plan to achieve huge carbon savings equivalent to taking over half a million cars off the road.
James Cook, Director for Primary and Community Care Improvement 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 double crewed ambulances. All while helping the NHS meet its broader green ambitions.”
Dr Nick Watts, Chief Sustainability Officer at NHS England said: said:
“We know that climate change has an impact on health, and the NHS can play its part in preventing ill-health by looking at new ways to reduce emissions.
“Each electric vehicle costs less to run and maintain, meaning these new vehicles will spend more time on the road and change the way we deliver care in the community – whilst also cutting our carbon footprint as we strive to make NHS services greener and more efficient as part of our ambition to hit net zero by 2040.”
Claire Murdoch, national director for mental health, NHS England said:
“The mental health response vehicles in this new green fleet are an important addition to mental health care, and we have a double win of being able to improve the experience of patients in crisis whilst also caring for the planet.”