England

North East Ambulance Service forms no-deal Brexit plan

North West Ambulance Service ambulances Image copyright PA
Image caption The German conversion firm has assured the service it can honour the order

An ambulance trust has drawn up a back-up plan in case a no-deal Brexit holds up the delivery of new vehicles.

The North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) has placed an order for 44 modified Mercedes vehicles that are converted by a German firm.

These have been bought to replace 31 vehicles coming to the end of their seven-year lifespan.

However, should the new ambulances be delayed, old ones could be "recycled" for 999 use, the spokesman said.

NEAS covers the area from Berwick-upon-Tweed to the North Yorkshire border.

The order for the emergency response vehicles is due to be completed by the summer.

Lower response times

The service has also ordered 13 new ambulances for the paramedics it has recruited to meet lower emergency response times.

NEAS said it took about nine months from placing an order to having a road-worthy response vehicle and its financial plans meant it could not speed up the process.

The NEAS spokesman said: "We are expecting to get the first vehicles coming through in April.

"They are converting 44 chassis into ambulances and that will be spread over the summer months."

While the German conversion company said it could meet the order, the NEAS spokesman said there was uncertainty over the impact a no-deal Brexit might have.

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