An initial order of 25 Nissan NV200 Combi models will be delivered over the next two years, with the other 25 planned for 2014. The ultimate aim is to transport 1,000 cancer patients per week, or 50,000 a year, in the vehicles.
Daft as a Brush Cancer Patient Care, which launched in March 2011, chauffeurs patients free of charge from North and South Tyneside, Northumberland and Newcastle to Freeman Hospital in High Heaton for chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment.
A deciding factor in selecting the Nissan vans was that cancer sufferers who may be infirm or unsteady can enter and exit the vehicles easily.
Brian Burnie, a trustee of the charity, says: ‘The accessibility of the NV200 Combi validated our decision to work with Nissan. The twin sliding side doors, coupled with the addition of a bespoke external footstep – manufactured on the recommendations of dealer group, Benfield Nissan – offer choice and convenience of entry.’
‘The bespoke vehicles are spacious and have significant passenger and load-carrying space. There is considerable leg and knee room and even with all seven seats in use, there is still space in the luggage area for a wheelchair and medical box.’
The NV200 Combi is easily adapted to offer flexible passenger configurations. Its roomy interior comfortably seats up to seven people or can accommodate a cargo volume of 3.1m³, making it well-suited for both passenger and commercial use.
Despite the spacious interior, the Nissan NV200 Combi has an extremely compact body – only 4.4m long and 1.69m wide – and is powered by a 1.5-litre dCi turbodiesel engine which provides a fuel-efficient performance even when heavily laden.
As well as being fully liveried with the charity’s logo, each van will be adopted by a local primary school that will design artwork for the rear panels and create a booklet about the school/charity to be read by patients on their journeys.
Barry Beeston, Nissan Fleet Sales Director, said: ‘We are thrilled to be providing a fleet of Nissan NV200 Combis for such an amazing and inspirational cause. The charity is a lifeline for cancer patients and we’re proud and honoured that our vehicles can go some way towards making life that bit easier and more comfortable for patients requiring trips to and from hospital.’