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Miniature van sale planned to aid ambulance

They are not the sort of vans that need commercial vehicle insurance, but the vans owned by Stan Walton and his club members are going to be involved in life saving work.

Stan, from Peterlee, County Durham, is a model car enthusiast and treasurer of the North East Die Cast Club, (NEDCC). He has galvanised members of the club into action to make a special collection of miniature vans depicting a local emergency vehicle to raise money for the Great North Air Ambulance (GNAA).

Stan explained “We get asked to make models for all kinds of people and they can fetch a decent price when they go on sale. We made three to start with and they went on sale at the Bowburn Toy Fair and were sold straight away.

We are all great supporters of the work the air ambulance does. We buy in the models then design the transfers ourselves, print them off and put them on the vehicles. The models we have already produced have generated so much interest.”

The GNAA does not receive any government funding so relies on the good will of the public and charities in the North East to keep it in the air. It is hoped the model ambulances which will cost around £20 each will prove to be popular with the public at the toy fair in Chester-le-street on October the 9th, where they will be launched.

The NEDCC are confident the vans will sell well and they can add the GNAA to the list of charities they have helped, as they have raised money for the Help for Heroes charity in the past. they can refuse to pay landlords who are making a profit from housing benefit.

London councils housing spokesman, Sir Steve Bullock, said “Cracking down on the worst excesses of a small minority of landlords is welcome. However we must make sure that any action that takes place does not have the devastating side-effect of pushing poorer people in the capital out of their homes.”

Ambulance conversion rings alarm bells on Merseyside

Health workers on Merseyside are feeling the effects of government cuts already, as paramedics are being asked to operate in what some see as unsuitable vehicles to serve the public. Vans that were originally designed for work that would require commercial vehicle insurance for the operator, are now being converted to carry even more precious cargo.

Health workers union, Unison, say that ambulance chiefs at the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) have made conditions difficult for paramedics to operate in, as they have started converting vans into makeshift ambulances. The NWAS admitted that four vans had been turned into ambulances already and fully expected to use more in the future. The union believe the main reason for this is that the converted vans are a much cheaper option than buying the modular Mercedes ambulances that are the standard vehicle for the NWAS.

Although Unison objects to the introduction of the vans, they are working constructively with the NWAS to make them as suitable as possible. A spokesman for the union said “We have opposed the introduction of van conversions over existing modular vehicles from the outset, due to reduced working space and their comparatively cramped layout. But, in the current economic climate, where cutbacks are already looming for NHS trusts across the UK, the £30,000 cost saving on the new van conversion in comparison to the modular Mercedes vehicles has proved a major factor in influencing management’s decision, senior union officials believe.”

A poll of paramedics showed that 57% of them were opposed to the introduction of the new vans but a NWAS spokesman defended the decision by saying “In the current environment, we must use resources as efficiently as possible, while ensuring the highest levels of patient care and safety.”

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