NHS Blood and Transplant services has increased the share of Ford vehicles in its 500-strong fleet following a deal for 56 Transit Customs.

The NHSBT already has an existing relationship with Ford and 65% of its fleet are Ford vehicles.

NHSBT’s national fleet service manager, Larry Bannon, said the new Transit Custom was chosen due to its recognition in the industry (it is the only van to retain Van of the Year for two years in a row in the What Van? Awards, in 2013 and 2014), as well as its dealer network support and spare parts supply.

In addition to emergency-service livery and the fitment of special storage equipment, each van is lined in a special waterproof resin to enable power-washing of the interior to ensure cleanliness to prescribed and regularly audited levels.

Bannon said: “The Ford vans are used in every stage of the blood donation process, from collecting the blood from the village halls and schools where blood donation sessions are set up, then transporting the donated blood to our regional processing sites where it is tested, processed and sorted, through to delivering units of blood to hospitals, whether as part of a routine order or under emergency blue-light cover to meet a hospital’s urgent needs.”