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Last Updated: Friday, 11 January 2008, 15:17 GMT
Welsh ambulance stars on US TV
The ambulance's specialist lifting equipment
The ambulance was designed to have specialist lifting equipment
Forget Catherine Zeta Jones and Sir Anthony Hopkins, there is a new Welsh star on American screens.

US viewers have been tuning in to see the state-of-the art ambulance that is helping to save lives in Wales.

It was the star of an episode of 'How Do They Do It', a documentary on the Discovery Science satellite channel.

The programme, which has already been aired three times in the US, shows how the vehicle's revolutionary equipment is improving emergency services.

The 115,000 Mercedes 515 Sprinter ambulance, which staff in the Welsh Ambulance Service helped develop, has specialist lifting equipment and a sat nav screen which switches to a rear view camera when the vehicle is in reverse gear.

Susan Monaco, who directed the ambulance story for production company Wag TV, said: "The initial idea for this story was to demonstrate the technologies and processes that enable the ambulance services to do what they do.

"As we investigated the story more we came across the 'new' model ambulance which led us to the idea of exploring how this newest model operates.

"We were interested in investigating how this fascinating and life-saving technology operates and how the members of the Welsh Ambulance Service daily utilise their vehicle to protect the lives of the people in their care."

The ambulance's sat nav and rear view camera
The ambulance has sat nav that turns into a rear view camera

Along with the vehicle, the programme featured Welsh Ambulance Service trainer Kevin Doyle and paramedics Osian Roberts, from Llandudno in Conwy and Graham Plumridge, from Barry in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Mr Roberts, who was part of the working group which helped design the new ambulances, said: "The vehicles have been in service now for nine months and they have made a tremendous difference to us all in the way we do the job.

"The tail lift has been a huge success with staff who no longer have to push patients up ramps

"The difference is that these vehicles have been designed not only for the patient but around the work we do."

The Welsh Ambulance Service said there has been interest in the new vehicles from other ambulance services in the UK and Europe.

The service added that since the new vehicles were introduced last March, ambulance emergency responses across Wales have improved.

The documentary is likely to be shown on Discovery Europe in the future.



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