NATIONAL motor retailer Lookers has partnered with a health charity to improve NHS response times for people suffering a heart attack by supplying the ambulance service with a new emergency response vehicle.
Lookers franchise dealership Newcastle Audi has partnered with Cardioproof to provide the Audi SQ5, which should improve response times and save between 40 and 50 additional lives each year.
As well as being striped up as a North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) vehicle and sporting the Newcastle Audi and Cardioproof sponsorship logos, the vehicle has been fitted by the NEAS with the very latest life-saving equipment and will soon begin its duties from the Scottish borders to the Yorkshire border.
The vehicle, which will be used by the Cardiac Arrest Response Unit based at the NEAS headquarters in Newcastle upon Tyne, is the result of a friendship between Lookers chief operating officer Nigel McMinn and his neighbour and Cardioproof founder Professor Michael Norton.
It was McMinn’s 11-year-old son and car fan Joseph who suggested the SQ5 because of its specifications for the task at hand, including a spacious interior and smooth and responsive handling, as well as its ability to cover large distances through its speed and raw power, with its 349bhp and a 0-60mph time of 5.2 seconds.
Nigel McMinn said: ‘I’ve known Michael for a number of years and have always admired his dedication to helping save the lives of those unfortunate enough to have a cardiac arrest. It’s a very sudden and traumatic event that can happen to absolutely anyone, whether you’re fit and healthy or not, which makes providing this vehicle all the more important.
‘It was also great to see my son Joseph get involved. At 11 years old, he’s already a bit of a car nut, and his suggestion of an SQ5 was one that stuck and I’m sure that it will prove to be the perfect vehicle for this kind of vital work.’
Norton, who plans to accompany ambulance staff in the new vehicle on certain shifts, said: ‘We are so grateful to Newcastle Audi for partnering with Cardioproof to provide this vehicle.
‘This car will save lives. It is the most important emergency service vehicle in our region. We believe it will make a huge difference to the Cardiac Arrest Response Unit and help get the right people and equipment to the right place at the right time. Every second counts in cardiac arrest and a car that can safely make up ground on “blue light” runs can make the difference between life and death.’
Pictured from left are Ian Humpish, managing director at marketing agency The Roundhouse, Professor Michael Norton, Joseph McMinn, lead consultant paramedic Paul Aitken-Fell and Lookers Audi division operations director Paul Liddell
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