THE PLEDGE OF 800 NEW AMBULANCES – An attempt to distract from the root cause of problems in the NHS

In January, 800 new ambulances were announced, with a 10% fleet increase.

But vehicles being ordered by trusts are mostly replacements they were prevented from purchasing because of procurement changes and the pandemic.

NHS England said it was “delivering on its urgent and emergency care recovery plan”.

Some orders had been “impacted by global supply chain pressures”, it added.

In their FOI responses, eight of the 11 trusts in England said they planned to order 655 replacement ambulances in the years 2023-25 but only 51 new ones in total.

Two trusts, North West Ambulance Service and South Western Ambulance Service, have no plans to buy extra vehicles at all in the next two years.

North West declined to comment. South Western has been approached for a response.

Figures for vehicles funded by NHS England, obtained via another Freedom of Information (FOI), also put new ambulance numbers at less than 800.

GMB union national secretary Rachel Harrison said: “The pledge of 800 new ambulances – much like the mythical new hospitals – was always an attempt to distract people from the root cause of problems in the NHS; overworked and underpaid staff.”