Ambulance CEN Approval

This page was last updated on 22nd April 2022

The CEN standard, commonly known as BS EN 1789:2020 – ‘Medical Vehicles and their Equipment – Road Ambulances’, is required for European Whole Vehicle Type Approval and GB Type Approval for vehicles classified as special purpose  – Ambulances.

The scope of the standard is as follows:

“Specifies  the  requirements  for  the  design,  testing,  performance  and equipping of road ambulances for the transport of sick or injured persons”.

This applies to ambulances of classes A1, A2, B and C capable of transporting at least one person on a stretcher. In addition, it specifies general requirements for medical devices in ambulances.

Compliance with CEN will provide the purchaser with:

  • One specific standard to choose for an industry benchmark
  • Paramedics and ambulance crews will have a safer working environment
  • Patients are transported in as safe and comfortable a vehicle as possible

VCA became involved in CEN testing after being appointed as the UK notified body for the dynamic testing requirements for the security of equipment detailed in Paragraphs 4.4.11 and 5.3 of the CEN standard. This was viewed as a natural extension of VCA’s statutory responsibility for the type approval testing of virtually all other forms of vehicle transport. In addition to witnessing the dynamic test work, VCA can also provide a testing service for the full set of performance requirements detailed in the standard.

Some of the subjects covered in the standard are as follows:

  • Masses and Dimensions
  • Electrical Requirements
  • Vehicle Performance Requirements
  • Medical Devices
  • Fixation of the Equipment in the Patient’s Compartment
  • Emergency Exits
  • Minimum Seating Dimensions
  • Braking Requirements
  • Glass Requirements
  • Interior & Exterior Lighting
  • Interior Sound
  • Mandatory medical equipment

The process of requesting a CEN testing is the same as for VCA’s normal type approval scheme for both whole vehicles and components.  For more information of the requirements of the standard please contact our Midlands Centre Office in Nuneaton by email:

Please note that the CEN standard is not published by VCA but by BSI. The full title of the current standard is BS EN 1789:2020

A copy of ‘Medical Vehicles and their Equipment – Road Ambulances’ can be obtained from BSI. Please contact:

BSI Customer Services
389 Chiswick High Road
W4 4AL

Tel: +44 345 080 9000
Fax: +44 (0) 20 8996 7001