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God bless standardisation

The adapted Fiat Ducatos have been rolled out across the country as ambulance services standardised their vehicle procurement following a report by Lord Carter of Coles in 2019, which led to a national specification.

In it, he stated “it is simply unacceptable that trusts purchase different ambulances and stock them with different equipment and medicines”.

Yes, yes! All must be the same!

One emergency medical technician told the BBC: “I was told that anyone over 5ft 9in (1.75m) would be unable to drive it as they would not be able to achieve a comfortable and safe driving position.

All ambulances must have the same problem!

Entries from the trust’s risk management system – and obtained via the Freedom of Information Act – reveal how taller staff in particular experienced difficulties fitting into the cabs of the modified Fiat Ducatos.


23 thoughts on “God bless standardisation”

  1. You’re missing the point Tim. As everything must be standardised, anyone over 5’9″ must be banned from working for the NHS as ambulance drivers……(this sounds a bit like ‘Get ’em out by Friday’ for those of a certain generation).

    Somewhere in the deep recesses of my addled brain is a story that the layout of a T74 MBT suited a left handed loader, but as circa 12% of the populace are left handed it caused a bit of a shortage of loaders for the T74…..Central planning eh………

  2. So the moral of the story is: Don’t ask the Lord Carter of Coles, ask his housekeeper. She’d have soon pointed out the flaw in trying to get a competitive price when you’ve ruled out all the other contenders.


    And tomorrow: major recall on Fiat Ducatos after manufacturing problem with brake found. All Fiat Ducatos off the road until spare parts can be designed, manaufacture3d and fitted.

    Moron squared.

    Aren’t they always going on about the benefits of diversity? 🙂
    Not round here milord.

  3. Anything that starts “it is simply unacceptable that …” is shite. Who the hell was the report addressed to? Had they never grown up?

  4. Presumably ordered at great cost by the same highly paid procurement managers who, two years ago “had one job to do”.

  5. Royal Mail had (probably still does) a whole load of FIAT vans.

    Slight technical hitch, the short runs from point to point on the deliveries, mean that the alternator never really charges the battery.

    So the posties were told to park up for lunch, and keep the engine running for at least 30 minutes.

    (Some Honda Civics have the same problem.)

  6. We, over here, don’t even standardize ambulances at the state level (and our most populous state only has 2/3rds your population). I can’t imagine the hubris of trying to force standardization across a population of 67 million.

    Honestly, sounds more like someone was getting kickbacks from the (now national) ambulance maker.

  7. A Labour peer, “elevated” by Blair, the closest school friend of Jack Straw: why in God’s name was anybody listening to this arse in 2019? He’s the sort of fellow who should be shot pour encourager les autres.

  8. It would be funny if the tartan fascists had refused to buy these ambulances just to be different from the English NHS.

    But I find “All electric Fiat E-Ducato vans are now ready for service with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (GGC) Transport. The launch of the NHS GGC Transport’s new fleet took place last month, to provide more resources, as well as greener and more cost-efficient service.” (October 2021)

  9. Talk about restricted leg room reminded me of the Bedford HA vans that I used to drive in the late 1970s the vans were based on the original HA Vauxhall Viva. The van’s load platform prevented the driving seat from adjusting far enough for anyone but a total shortarse to be comfortable in it.

  10. UK average male (adult) height 2022 is reported to be 5ft 10in

    The FIAT Ducato should not be driven by anyone taller than 5ft 9in.

    What was the gender of the individual who selected the FIAT Ducato as the standard national ambulance?

  11. Bloke in North Dorset

    My van conversion motorhome is a Fiat Ducato* and I’m rather surprised about this claim of them being uncomfortable to drive for any height.

    I’m 5’ 8” so on the margins and I regularly drive for 2 to 2.5 hours without a problem. Safe driving recommendations suggest a break after that length of time so I wouldn’t expect ambulance drivers to be doing more. Mrs BiND is shorter and doesn’t have a problem.

    But what is really surprising is that the founder of the company was a long standing motorhome owner and he deliberately selected the Ducato and not only is he 6’+ he used to talk about driving his to southern Spain.

    Furthermore I’ve never seen any complaints on the owners FB group.

    And what’s the alternative? Buying a range of vans to suit different heights and weights and where do you draw the line on how many variants?


  12. Limited experience with Fiats was owning a Uno back in 1991; unusually for a car of that size, it had enough legroom and headroom to be actually comfortable for me (at six foot two). It turned out to be reliable and useful, giving a good few years of service with only a broken speedo cable needing any unexpected attention (brake pads and a new exhaust were just normal jogging back then). Traded it in 1996, saw it zip past covered in stickers and evidently still running a few years later.

    Of course that was thirty years ago and much has changed since, but my father – a car obsessive – rated the Uno FIRE as a very good buy, where Fiat had improved their build quality and designed it as a car for young Italian menfolk – meaning, I could sit straight without my head touching the roof.

  13. The east anglian ambulance Service has a record of failure only a NHS organisation could achieve. I’ve only dealt with them once and found them to be totally inept. I was advised to call for an ambulance by nhs 111 and they took 8 hours to arrive. That was bad enough but the ambulance service rang me at regular intervals to see if I still nedeede an ambulance. Each time I had to explain what the problem was – it seems it was impossible for them to keep notes from each conversation. luckily it wasn’t a life or death situation but i was distinctly unimpressed. The East Anglian Ambulance service is a useless organisation.

  14. Agammamon,

    The US runs as a load of subcontractors for ambulances, yes?

    I mean, that’s the way to run it. Have paramedics as private operators. Let the companies you hire pick what tools work for them, same as taxi drivers or programmers. Word will get around about which ambulances are good or bad, much like programmers discuss laptops.

  15. John77
    “UK average male (adult) height 2022 is reported to be 5ft 10in”

    Last time I looked ambulance crew was a job reserved for short, round lesbians. Has that changed since I left?

  16. The US runs as a load of subcontractors for ambulances, yes?

    So does the NHS.

    Entrepreneurs over here set up companies, rent premises with decent car parking, lease ambulances, hire agency paramedics and sell the resultant service to nearby nhs trusts incapable of organising a something in a brewery.

  17. I’ve hired Ducatos, nice big side windows and good mirrors. I am 5’11” and had no problems fitting in. However Fiats generally seem to have their pedals close together which is a bit of a problem in boots or clumpy shors.

  18. No one seems to have commented that it’s entirely possible that the issues are made up by lazy ambulance drivers who got used to people dying unattended in the comfort of their own homes under pandemic lockdown and don’t fancy having to drive about taking them to hospital.

  19. @Ottokring

    I wouldn’t be susprised to find NHS hae mandated special seats and roof padding for some H&S bollocks

    That may play a part along with still in force Covid rules such as full manual clean of ambulance after each patient. NHS still refuses to use cheap, quick HOCL fogging.

    There’s also the ~30% increase in heart attack and stroke, inc many under 30s 999 calls and the new illness ‘Sudden Adult Death Syndrome’. Shush, don’t mention “The Jabs”

    Also NHS trusts gifted a lot of ambulances to Ukraine

  20. @Ducky McDuckface – “the posties were told to park up for lunch, and keep the engine running for at least 30 minutes”

    That was a pretty stupid solution. Instead, it should have been solved by fitting higher capacity batteries and plugging them in to overnight chargers. I expect it would have been much cheaper overall.

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