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Gloucestershire Business News

New fleet to help keep people independent

Gloucestershire County Council plans to replace the vans that deliver vital equipment to support people to live independently at home.

The council's cabinet will be asked to agree the move to spend between £1.2 and £1.3 million on the fleet at its meeting next week.

The vans for the Gloucestershire Community Equipment Service deliver medical equipment and aids to people across the county to support them to live independently.

The current lease contract for the delivery vans comes to an end in December 2020 and the county council wants to investigate replacing the 20 old vans with 23 green vehicles if possible, in line with its Climate Change Strategy and Clean Fleet Replacement Plan. The council is in the process of moving to cleaner or alternatively fuelled vehicles as part of its emissions reduction target, so the new fleet will be as green as possible, while meeting the needs of the Community Equipment Service.

Cllr Kathy Williams, cabinet member for adult social care operations, said: "We need to increase the delivery vans from 20 to 23 to keep up with the high demand for equipment from the community and we want to replace them with electric or low emission vehicles if we can, to reduce carbon emissions in the county. We don't know yet whether we can move to green vans for this sort of service, but we're determined to see if it's possible."

The Gloucestershire Community Equipment Service is a county council service, funded by the council and the NHS, which provides both short and long-term free equipment loans. It provides over 114,000 pieces of equipment per year to people in Gloucestershire. During the Covid-19 lockdown, it ran the service seven days a week and provided equipment to hospitals and care providers to support hospital discharges and maximise bed capacity within hospitals.

Equipment provided includes specialist beds and hoists that enable people to remain at home, equipment for daily living like shower chairs and grab rails, aids for people with sensory impairments, such as flashing doorbells, short-term equipment to help people recover from injuries like a wheelchair or crutches, and Telecare equipment, for example, falls alarms and sensors.

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