Bariatrics is the branch of medicine that deals with the causes, prevention and treatment of obesity and the Relays will be used to provide routine and emergency transport for patients weighing 50 stone or more. With its headquarters in New Malden, Surrey, AST has also acquired a Dispatch 2.0HDi-based bariatric support vehicle.

Each costing almost £50,000, the Relays have been converted by Goole, Humberside-based Oughtred & Harrison and can be used for general patient transport in addition to their bariatric role. The conversion includes removable seating, reinforced loading ramps, special stretchers and electric winch equipment. The Relays also carry the first specialist Ferno Harrier XL trolley in the UK, which provides handling facilities for bariatric patients.

AST Ambulance is currently investing almost £1m in bariatric vehicles to meet a growing need in the National Health Service. Due to stay in service with the firm for around four years, the three new Citroëns are set to cover up to 100,000 miles apiece.