The vehicles, which will be funded by Hitachi Capital over three- and five-year lease agreements under a two-year supply contract, are being bought through the Public Sector's Buying Solutions procurement framework, which ensures pricing is competitive ahead of public sector spending reviews.

Hitachi Capital will also be responsible for safely decommissioning the blue-light vehicles to ensure they don't end up in the wrong hands.

Larry Bannon, fleet manager at NHSBT, said: 'Hitachi Capital's inclusion under the Buying Solutions agreement was an important factor, as it meant that we didn't have to go through a full tender process which can be costly and time-consuming.

'We have been very impressed with the knowledge and expertise of the Hitachi Capital team. They manage to get the basics right, informing us of any progress every step of the way without being prompted. They have also been very willing to advise us on potential new initiatives.'

Jon Lawes, divisional managing director at Hitachi Capital Commercial Vehicle Services, added: 'In light of the recent spending review, it's essential that organisations such as NHSBT can prove they have negotiated the best possible procurement terms. We can offer these without compromising on service levels.'