A new fleet of electric vehicles are set to hit the streets this summer as the NHS takes their net zero efforts to the next level.
As part of a £2.1m investment, the NHS will trial 21 net-zero-optimised vehicles across eight ambulance Trusts in the hope of substantially cutting down on their carbon footprint in the run-up to 2040.
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.”
The mental health sector will be one of the main beneficiaries of the new trial with six of the new vehicles set aside to help alleviate pressure on the traditional double-crewed ambulances as well as cut down response times in general for people experiencing mental health crises.
Not only will they allow health professionals to respond to quicker to patients, the new green vehicles are also specifically designed to have a more relaxing ambiance compared to a traditional ambulance, putting patients more at ease in their time of need.
Whilst mental health-dedicated, the new electric vehicles will still carry the equipment necessary to respond to the more life-threatening medical emergencies, ensuring the new fleet is versatile and flexible.
The new green fleet will also include units designed to respond to some of the less severe emergencies as well as vehicles equipped to transfer the critically ill to and from High Dependency Units.
Claire Murdoch, national director for mental health at 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.”
The NHS is the first health service in the world to commit to becoming completely net-zero by 2040 with Trusts up and down the country agreeing to carbon-cutting plans that will be tantamount to taking more than 500,000 cars off the road.