NHS staff who drive Vauxhalls will get complimentary roadside assistance as the car maker attempts to support the health service through the coronavirus outbreak. It’s the latest in a string of initiatives from car makers and dealers to help the service as the country continues its lockdown.
On April 1, Business Secretary Alok Sharma said 29,474 people had tested positive for coronavirus in the UK, with English hospitals admitting 10,767 people for treatment. At the same time, Sharma reported that more than 2,350 people had lost their lives after being diagnosed with the illness.
It comes as the UK plods through a second week of lockdown, with members of the public urged to stay inside except for trips to the supermarket, commuting (for essential workers), exercise and for medical reasons, such as appointments. It’s hoped that these measures will help to slow the spread of the virus, saving lives and reducing the pressure on the NHS.
However, car makers have been trying to help too. Chinese-owned MG offered NHS agencies up to 100 electric ZS SUVs, while a Nissan dealer in the north-west of England offered NHS staff savings on parts and servicing.
At the same time, companies have been helping in other ways. Fiat-Chrysler offering face masks to coronavirus responders in North America and Jaguar Land Rover offering more than 160 cars to responders across the globe.
Now Vauxhall is making its own pledge, promising to offer drivers of its vehicles the Vauxhall Roadside Assistance scheme, which was previously only available to buyers of new vehicles. The scheme will be available to all NHS staff, no matter how old their Vauxhall is, or how many miles it has covered. No restrictions apply to when and where the vehicle has been serviced or maintained, even if this has been outside the company’s authorised repair network.
As a result, if NHS staff break down in their Vauxhall at home or at the roadside and their vehicle is immobilised, the service will aim to repair the car. If that proves impossible, the vehicle will be recovered to Vauxhall-authorised repairer or independent trader within a 10-mile radius, and a taxi provided for its driver and any passengers to a single destination within a 20-mile radius.
Vauxhall’s Managing Director, Stephen Norman, said he hoped the offer would provide NHS staff with some “reassurance” as they head to work.
“Vauxhall is committed to providing continued support to essential services and key workers, many of whom drive Vauxhalls, during this time,” he said. “Keeping our NHS colleagues mobile is vital, and will hopefully offer some reassurance to them while they go about their business.”