Bulgaria’s Health Minister Kiril Ananiev signed on November 19 the two contracts for the delivery of 280 new ambulances, with the first vehicles due to be handed over within 60 days.
The contracts with Sofia Trans Auto, the Peugeot authorised distributor for Bulgaria, are worth 38.3 million leva (about 19.6 million euro).
The ambulances are to be delivered with specific medical equipment – 185 of them equipped for first aid and monitoring patients, while the other 95 are required to have equipment for intensive care, the ministry said in a statement. The warranties for the vehicles and equipment is five years.
Ananiev said that the contracts were “the first real step towards implementation of the project to modernise the ambulance service. This is a top priority for me and my team because it will improve the availability of ambulance service.”
The ambulances will be delivered over a period of three years, under a timeline drafted by the Health Ministry.
According to Ananiev, there were 651 ambulances currently in service in Bulgaria, but a large number of them were “in quite poor condition.”
The ministry earlier called tenders to purchase 400 new ambulances in four separate lots, with Sofia Trans Auto winning two of the tenders. The other two lots – for off-road and four-wheel drive ambulances – did not receive any offers and a new tender has been called, the ministry said.
“I believe that the other tenders yet to be called, as well as those for the delivery of 120 more ambulances to the envisioned total of 400, and all other activities in the [ambulance service modernisation] project will proceed smoothly and there will be progress in the execution of the project,” Ananiev said.