BASSETLAW residents have joined MP John Mann in slamming the proposed cuts to ambulance stations as ‘ridiculous and unworkable’.
Last week, fears were raised for the future of Worksop and Retford ambulance stations after new plans put forward by East Midlands Ambulance Service to reduce its number of stations from 70 to 13 hubs. This week, Bassetlaw residents travelled to Nottingham with MP John Mann to present a letter to EMAS Board members - detailing their concerns about the dangers from the loss of local stations and calling upon them to urgently rethink the closures.
“EMAS have gone into consultation on the cuts, but their arguments are totally illogical and incoherent,” said Mr Mann.
“The director said ambulances should be based in urban centres because that’s where patients are - but it doesn’t work here. It’s an urban solution that doesn’t consider those outside cities.”
The letter stated that Bassetlaw is a third of the land mass of Notts and without the dual carriageways in the south, its as big as Greater London - making it ‘nonsensical to have our ambulances based in a hospital that we do not use’.
Mr Mann added: “This has all been very badly thought out and we need to push the Board to come up with something coherent that makes sense. People are shocked by how ridiculous and unworkable these plans are. We’ll be carrying out our own consultation as well as an online petition with public meetings to coincide with the consultation and I would call upon residents to speak out and challenge these proposals.”
Conservative Retford East councillor and chairman for Health North Wendy Quigley said that she’d like more facts.
“Several weeks ago I attended the first meeting with Phil Milligan from EMAS and Bassetlaw failed to send a representative,” she said.
“I told EMAS that they would find it hard to convince constituents that these closures were a good idea. I’ve got to reserve judgement, but I welcome the debate because the public need to know the facts - rather than just scaremongering.”
She added: “It’s scary enough as it is and people don’t like change.”
Leon Duveen from Bassetlaw Lib Dems said: “Instead of being parked in a costly ambulance station, the ambulances will be parked elsewhere around the District. They will offer the same service and same target response times.”
“It is right that all service providers paid for by our taxes review how best they provide that service to make sure we are getting the best value for our money.”
EMAS argue that the changes will ‘improve patient care and staff working lives’. Consultation is set to last from September - November.