An order of 67 new Renault Master ambulances has been added to the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust (WAST) fleet.
The specially-converted new ambulances will be used to transport people to and from routine outpatient appointments, playing a major role in the 1.5 million journeys that the service completes each year for patients.
Funded by the Welsh government, the new vehicles are replacements for a number of WAST’s existing eight-year-old Masters, many of which have now covered more than 200,000 miles.
The new Masters are in two configurations – 42 converted for double wheelchair access and 25 as stretcher-bearing vehicles with four passenger seats.
Specced in long wheelbase, medium roof, front-wheel drive form, with 2.3-litre, 110hp diesel engines and six-speed manual transmission, they have been converted by Wilker, a member of the Renault Accredited Converter programme.
Wilker has equipped each vehicle with an inboard tail lift that has a safe working load of 500kgs, while the stretcher-bearing vehicles feature stretchers which are lowered and raised electrically.
Masters number more than 220 out of nearly 280 vehicles on WAST’s non-emergency fleet.
WAST national fleet manager David Holmes said: “The Renault Master has been our ambulance vehicle base of choice for many years and it’s proved to be perfect for our needs time and time again, offering good value against rival vehicles, a high specification and, importantly, excellent durability and reliability.
“The front-wheel drive Master lends itself particularly well to the conversion as the low floor height, combined with the large sliding side door, provides generous access for more mobile patients and crews alike.
“Our teams find them a comfortable drive and another important bonus is that these latest, more efficient versions will enable us to make fuel savings and reduce the impact our journeys have on the surrounding environment.”
Renault UK managing director Vincent Tourette said: “We are delighted that WAST has reaffirmed its confidence in the Renault Master with this significant order.
“Importantly, it not only highlights how appealing the Renault Master is and the exceptional long-term reliability and durability it offers, but also the expertise and benefits that the Renault Accredited Converter programme offers.”