An ambulance service is to spend £27 million on a new fleet because its 272 vehicles cannot cope with patients who are over 28 stone – The Sunday People has learned.
The rising numbers of super-heavy passengers are forcing East Midlands Ambulance Service to invest in new bariatric ambulances.
They have extra wide doors and interiors, electric stretchers and lifting gear to handle the severely obese weighing up to 55 stone.
The service’s clinical quality manager Pete Bainbridge said: “There’s a UK obesity epidemic and we’ve had a number of calls where the patient required a bariatric-capable ambulance to attend.
“Once was to a 55 stone patient in Derbyshire and it took a couple of hours
“In the past, we’ve had one of these vehicles for our area’s five counties – so patients have had to wait.”
By next year just under half EMAS’s ambulances will have been strengthened to take extra weight.
The new vehicles will replace the fleet of 272 by 2016.
Matlock GP Peter Holden said: “Obesity is rising and such people are more likely to need ambulances.”