VCS Builds UKs First National Specification Ambulance

VCS, along with West Midlands Ambulance Service have introduced the first DCA built in line with the recently mandated National Specification, based on the findings from the Lord Carter report. VCS, as a prominent van based DCA provider has always been at the forefront of well-engineered and high-quality products for both the NHS and Police Services. Mark Kerrigan, Technical Director at VCS explains, “prior to the introduction of the National Specification for DCA vehicles in April 2019, our product development and engineering departments had been looking into new ways to drive down weight and to effectively take a fresh look at the van based DCA design. In doing this we re-invested into additional CEN testing to experiment with lighter materials and new assembly techniques to validate our new design approach. Our main focus was to drive down weight as historical van based DCAs were very close to the GVW, we identified there was scope to aim for an operational 4 Tonne van based DCA. Our main stimulus in aiming for weight reduction is the government’s move towards a cleaner environment and the need for the NHS Trusts to have lower Vehicle Whole Life Costs in their fleet departments. Our results and efforts have exceeded our projected technical goals as we can confirm on the West Midlands Next Generation DCA we now have an operational weight of 3956kg – which includes, for the avoidance of doubt, 5 people at 90kg and a medical load of 286kg. This weight reduction will yield significant savings for the Trust “

The preliminary results VCS has obtained from the current on-going whole life cost studies on the newly produced VCS DCA show a fuel saving of between £1.5million and £1.6million. The environmental impact shows a 16.6% reduction in NOx and 6.9% reduction in Co2 emissions.

Paul Croom Director of Sales at VCS continues “What we have achieved in terms of weight reduction is tremendous and now that our preliminary findings equate that into a tangible saving, it really does demonstrate that innovation and collaboration is a key ingredient to building a more advanced vehicle than is currently available in the UK marketplace. In addition to the savings we have newly introduced designs which are home grown designs developed and refined by our talented UK engineers. On these new DCAs we have introduced a VCS designed system to the rear doors known as DAS (Damp Assist System) this removes energy and load paths causing fatigue to the base vehicle doors and hinges, our design effectively removes all of this energy ensuring the rear doors integrity is enhanced. We will have a production DCA on the Fiat stand at the Emergency Services Show (stand H43) where we can demonstrate this innovation and other enhanced design features “

Wayne Sullivan Commercial Director at VCS adds “All of the VCS products are 100% Built in Britain supporting the British Economy through providing sustainable jobs. Furthermore, circa 97% of the materials used during our conversions are sourced from within Britain, therefore supporting British companies and contributing to the British Economy through tax revenues and safeguarding employment. This also has the benefit of ensuring virtually zero supply chain risk, should Britain leave the EU without a deal, therefore ensuring continuity of build without disruption “

Mr Tony Page General Manager Fleet services explains “West Midlands Ambulance Service has a fleet of close to 500 vehicles and we do almost 19 million miles per year. The weight savings offered by the VCS NG DCA is outstanding and will contribute to huge savings for the Trust. In addition to the weight savings VCS have some new innovations and enhanced designs that will also benefit our maintenance teams, the introduction of the rear door DAS system is an outstanding design along with the ECO RUN LOCK system and advanced electrical systems, it is this type of approach from VCS that firmly places their DCA at the forefront of design, innovation and safety. We will see improved operational reliability due to these improved and enhanced engineered solutions of which leads to us having more vehicles available daily for operations to deliver patient care, which is paramount. As a Trust we are very happy to be engaged and working in collaboration with a professional UK based convertor who are highly motivated, that possess a high degree of design and engineering capabilities with highly skilled technicians on the VCS assembly lines. I am confident the VCS van based DCA built to the National Specification is the most advanced in the UK to date and we as a Trust are looking forward to receiving these new DCAs and continuing to work in unison with VCS on our path to deliver world class patient care in world class Ambulances produced in the UK “

If you would like more information the VCS Next Generation DCA please contact


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