Page last updated at 08:45 GMT, Friday, 23 April 2010 09:45 UK

Ambulance meets obese patient demand in Essex

A high number of requests to move obese patients in Essex has prompted an ambulance service to buy a purpose-built vehicle.

The St John Ambulance vehicle was designed by health specialists and can move patients weighing up to 50 stone.

The charity said the ambulance was ordered in response to a "large amount" of requests to move obese patients across the county.

The ambulance will be used for both NHS and private patients.

A support vehicle for the ambulance, which can carry any additional equipment needed, friends and relatives, has also been brought into service.

Melanie Merrett said: "These individuals, known as bariatric patients, often need a vehicle with very specific capabilities in terms of size and weight-bearing ability.

"Because our team was receiving a large amount of requests around the county, we began designing a vehicle to fulfil the requirement more appropriately.

"This is a first for St John Ambulance in Essex."



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