THE ambulance service has been praised for its "fantastic achievement" after becoming the first emergency service in the region to receive an excellence accreditation for its ambulances.
West Midlands Ambulance Service has been awarded Van Excellence by the Freight Transport Association (FTA) which means vehicles patients are taken to hospital in are operated at the highest level.
Tony Page, general manager fleet services, said: “Some people might be confused as to what the programme has to do with us.
"However, ambulances are essentially vans with a very specialised purpose, so to get the award is a fantastic achievement for the staff and is good news for patients.
“We are one of only three ambulance services to meet the standard and there are only 75 accredited operators in the UK out of 14,000 members of the FTA.
“The transport industry is the second most regulated in the UK after aviation.
"To gain accreditation, we have to actively ensure the safety of our staff and the public through a robust maintenance programmes - adherence to pre-departure checks, a robust defect rectification process and high levels of driver training.
“Having a fleet that meets the standards expected of Van Excellence not only benefits patients, but also makes the work life of staff that little bit easier.”
Anthony Marsh, trust chief executive, explained the award was the culmination of 18 months of hard work.
"Clearly our top priority is to ensure the highest standards of patient care.
"If we have a fleet that meets the toughest tests, that will undoubtedly benefit patients and enhance the work life of our staff.
“Our decision to invest in our fleet means no vehicle over five years old.
"This brings real benefits to staff and patients alike - we get very few breakdowns and the vehicles are more comfortable.
“In terms of a team effort, I am really proud of everyone in our fleet department for all of their hard work in attaining this award.”