A new patient transport ambulance has been bought by Southmead Hospital Charity to help patients to get home from hospital quicker to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the NHS.

The charity handed over the £61,000 ‘birthday gift’ to Southmead Hospital today ahead of the NHS marking its 70th year on Thursday July 5.

The patient transport ‘home from hospital’ ambulance will serve local communities in Bristol and South Gloucestershire, taking patients who have been discharged from hospital home.

The new ambulance will replace one of North Bristol NHS Trust’s three home transfer vehicles but it will be the only home transfer ambulance capable of carrying patients with obesity.

Until now the hospital brings in a private ambulance company to provide a bariatric ambulance.

Simon Woods, Director of Facilities at North Bristol NHS Trust, said: “The new ambulance will take all patients home including bariatric patients, speeding up the discharge process and reducing private ambulance spend.

“Patients who are ready to leave hospital will benefit from being at home quicker, and we are able to ensure that beds are available sooner for new patients coming into the hospital.

“We’d like to thank Southmead Hospital Charity for purchasing this new ambulance as part of the NHS70 celebrations and for helping us to provide exceptional healthcare to our patients.”

The new ambulance features an image of a nurse and patient along with charity’s logo and branding so it will be noticeable as it drives around the local communities.

Elizabeth Bond, Head of Fundraising at Southmead Hospital Charity, said: “We are very proud to be able to support North Bristol NHS Trust with the purchase of this new ambulance.

“We wanted to celebrate the milestone of 70 years in the NHS by giving back with a gift that will have a big impact on future generations.

“Enabling the Trust to improve flow through the hospital to treat more patients is at the core of what we do at Southmead Hospital Charity.

“The ambulance is also an opportunity for the charity to spread the word about our work in the community and generate new support.”