NEAS ambulance sets course for Mongolia

Three medical students drive ambulance 9,000 miles for charity.

With a fleet that clocks up more than 10 million miles per year, NEAS knows its vehicles can take the strain.

Good news for three medical students from Newcastle University - who are about to drive a decomissioned ambulance 9,000 miles across rugged terrain to Mongolia, all in the name of charity.

Ross Sayers and his friends Matthew Brown and Sidney Parker are aiming to complete the journey in four weeks.

When they reach their destination, the vehicle will be donated to the Mongolian Ambulance Service.

Ross, a fourth-year medical student at Newcastle University, said: "I'm really excited about it but we know that at some point something is going to go wrong.

"We will encounter all sorts of difficulties along the way and an ambulance is probably not the best form of transport to use."

Click here to find out more!The group of 22-year-olds will set off from the region in June, before making their way to Holland, then onto the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia and then Mongolia.
When the trio arrive in the Mongolian town of Ulaanbataar they'll spend eight weeks working in the National Trauma and Orthopaedic Centre - improving their medical skills in the accident and emergency department.
The students have teamed up with Newcastle University and Go Help, a UK charity that works with local communities in Central Asia to improve access to education and healthcare.

Ross said: "There is a shortfall of ambulances of nearly 20% across Mongolia and those that are provided by the Government are of wildly varying quality."

The group will be updating a blog and video diary, as well as social networking sites Twitter and Facebook, along the way. They will be using a regular accident and emergency ambulance, which has been used in the North East but has reached the end of its seven-year service.

Bosses at the NEAS will also give the boys a special three-week driving course, normally undertaken by those employed to drive 999 emergency vehicles.

Geoff Craik, who is in charge of the NEAS vehicle fleet, said: "We are delighted to help such a good cause. The ambulance the lads are taking had just reached the end of its service period of service with NEAS, but there's still lots of life left in it. I'm sure it wont let its new owners down.

"All of our vehicles are regularly maintained by our mechanics at Pallion, and the one heading off to Mongolia has been given a thorough checking-over. It's a mind-boggling distance the boys will be covering, but the ambulance is up to the task.

"They're built to cope with constant use, and a lot of people might be surprised to know that the fleet in the North East clocks up more than 10 million miles every year."

Follow Ross, Matthew and Sidney on their journey at medics2mongolia.

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