A pioneering, bespoke-built ambulance used to train the paramedics of tomorrow is being used to help save lives today.

The University of Sunderland-owned vehicle was commissioned and built in Europe to help paramedic students get a flavour of life on the frontline.

Following the outbreak of the coronavirus, the University offered to loan the ambulance, along with a large range of equipment, to the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS).

The vehicle was picked up from the Sunderland City Campus on Friday and taken to the Service’s Team Valley base in Gateshead.

The move follows a series of decisions by the University of donate much needed equipment and services to the region’s NHS as it faces the biggest challenge in its history.

Last week almost 40 nurses from the University started working on the frontline, while testing equipment has also been loaned out to hospital trusts.

Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: “We work very closely with all of our partners across the NHS. Our ties with the North East Ambulance Service were already strong through the education and training of our student paramedics.

“We made an offer to loan our fully equipped training ambulance to the Service during the current pandemic, and I am delighted to say they accepted. The University will continue to play a vital role in supporting all of our colleagues in the NHS as we move forward in the coming weeks and months. “

The vehicle had been stationed outside the University’s Helen McArdle House and was picked up from there on Friday morning.

Mark Willis, Programme Leader for Paramedic Science and Out of Hospital Care, said: “The University is delighted to support the North East Ambulance Service by loaning them the use of our fully equipped ambulance (and additional equipment) which we have had for approximately 18months now.

“The ambulance was designed and built specifically by CodeBlue conversions .

“We hope that this small gesture can go a long way in supporting the ambulance service, NHS and patients within the North East region.”

A video of the ambulance been taken to the North East Ambulance Service can be found here: https://youtu.be/lTuwgyYTcZo