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A new turbocharged four-wheel-drive (4WD) ambulance with enhanced terrain capability is being trialled by the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) in a bid to provide a safer and more robust response to patients located in difficult areas across Queensland.

Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services Steven Miles, said 4WDs were an integral part of the QAS fleet and modernising them would provide a high degree of confidence when responding to emergencies in rural and remote regions.

“The Palaszczuk Government recognises the need to provide our hard-working paramedics with the best equipment available to provide the best care possible,” Mr Miles said.

“This new $245,000 Mercedes G Wagon 4WD has undergone extensive upgrades to become a state of the art ambulance vehicle, capable of responding in emergency conditions and being a platform to provide emergency pre-hospital care to sick and injured Queenslanders and visitors to Queensland.

“It’s been designed in line with a standard ambulance fit out with a patient stretcher, paramedic attending seat and key storage for all treatment and response equipment.

“It also has enhanced 4WD capabilities including differential locks and a recovery winch and recovery equipment should that be required when officers are responding to incidents off-road.

QAS Deputy Commissioner Dee Taylor-Dutton said this vehicle will now undergo a rigorous six-month testing period across a range of operational locations in Queensland including Cairns, Rockhampton, Longreach, Kilcoy, Boonah and sand environments such as Moreton Island.

“It’s important we put this vehicle through its paces in the sorts of environments it will be operating in to ensure it is robust enough to meet our requirements,” Ms Taylor‑Dutton said.

“We want to be sure we can safely reach patients in all types of remote and difficult environments so they can be provided the best possible pre-hospital care.

Key features of the vehicle include:

  • A 3.0 litre V6 turbo diesel engine and 7-speed automatic transmission with hi/low range capability and three differential locks for enhanced terrain capability.
  • Improved weight carrying capacity of approximately 600kg allowing the fitting of a new powered Stryker stretcher and loading system which can carry patients up to 318kg and a Stryker stair chair which can safely support patients weighing up to 228kg.
  • An integrated air conditioning system, with separate temperature controls to the cab and patient area which provides optimal staff and patient comfort with Queensland’s diverse climatic conditions.
  • The latest electronic screens for the operation of both vehicle and patient care features.
  • Safety features such as a Duress Monitoring System and a reversing camera and reversing sensors.