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NHS electric vehicles to help patients and the planet

The NHS is trialling a fleet of electric vehicles to help relieve pressure on ambulance services while also helping the NHS cut its carbon footprint.

The vehicles are part of a £2.1m investment as the NHS becomes the first health service in the world to commit to reaching net zero by 2040, said NHS England, with eight ambulance trusts trialling 21 zero-emission vehicles of various types.

Six of these new green vehicles are "dedicated to mental health response in the community", NHS England said. It emphasised that it hoped this development will "cut emergency response times for people with mental health needs and help reduce demand on traditional double-crewed ambulances".

The new dedicated mental health response vehicles differ in design from traditional ambulances by having fewer fluorescent markings and a much less clinical interior, to help put patients at ease. However, they still carry the equipment needed to respond to the most serious life-threatening emergencies.

NHS England highlighted that the all-electric vehicles can be deployed as a rapid response vehicle when someone is experiencing a mental health crisis, "providing a safe space for healthcare workers to support patients with mental health needs".

Claire Murdoch, national director for mental health, NHS England explained that the mental health response vehicles are an important addition to mental health care, and added: "we have a double win of being able to improve the experience of patients in crisis whilst also caring for the planet".

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Source: Medscape, 6 September 2022


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