Threat to NHS ambulances

Worksop Ambulance Station, Gateford Road, Worksop  (w120425-5)
Worksop Ambulance Station, Gateford Road, Worksop (w120425-5)

WORKSOP Ambulance Station could be under threat of closure, according to radical plans to change the way East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) operates.

Ambulance stations across North Notts - including Retford - could be closed or refurbished under plans outlined in the Estate Strategy.

The proposals, which will be decided by the end of July, could also see more vehicles parked in public places awaiting 999 calls and managerial posts cuts over the next five years.

A number of ‘hubs’ could be created across the region under the plans, and around 65 ‘inefficient’ stations closed as Trust said it would cost £13m to bring them up to NHS standards.

EMAS chief executive Phil Milligan said the Trust needs to look at new ways of working following a ‘significant’ increase in the number of emergency calls over the past decade.

“This has resulted in most (of the calls) being responded to by ambulance crews already out on the road. For the majority of the day our stations are empty,” he said.

“In light of this we are looking at having fewer ambulance stations but there will be better facilities at each so we can be sure that each ambulance is clean, well maintained and fully stocked at the beginning of each shift.”

Mr Milligan said they were exploring a ‘hub and spoke’ model with ‘tactical deployment’ facilities - all of which he hoped would help to generate a better ‘team spirit’ among staff members.

“A hub would be a larger station with additional resources such as education facilities, a spoke would be a small station and a tactical deployment point might be an existing community facility,” he said.

“This will give us a smaller and sustainable estate where locations is determined by optimal response times within our challenging geography.”

He added: “Equally, a hub is where clinical staff will be able to meet with a team leader at the beginning and end of their shift to catch up on news and to discuss issues that have arisen during the day.”

Bassetlaw MP John Mann said: “It would be totally out of order if we were to lose our ambulance station. Bassetlaw constitutes a third of Notts and we have got 45,000 people here - this needs to be taken into consideration.”