INVERCLYDE Council are planning to introduce a fleet of 4x4 vehicles to beat the bad weather this winter.

Health and social care staff found themselves hampered in March when the 'Beast from the East' struck, with only one off the road vehicle available.

Now bosses are looking at ways to get access to more off the road cars capable of ploughing through the snow.

During the snowstorms earlier this year they relied on the heroic efforts of volunteers with 4x4s to ferry frontline staff in the NHS and social care.

Health and social care partnership (HSCP) director Louise Long said: "One of the most significant areas of learning from this period was our inability to secure adequate 4x4 capacity.

"Access to 4x4 vehicles was limited to one vehicle operated by roads and one vehicle operated by the Coastguard and Maritime Agency.

"Inverclyde did not escape this weather and for a number of days record snowfall was recorded across the local authority area."

A report compiled by Ms Long has also praised staff who were out in force as the temperatures plummeted.

It said: "Both council and HSCP services were affected by the snowfall and staff showed their determination to continue to look after the most vulnerable members of our community during this period.

"The individual effort made by staff to keep visiting people at home during this period of heavy snowfall was impressive."

Members of the health and social care committee will now be asked to formally order a review of the vehicle fleet with a view to acquiring more suitable 4x4s within the budget which is available.