Ambulance plans given extra time

An extra two months has been given for East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) to develop its programme of changes which could see Worksop Ambulance Station close.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 20th January 2013, 1:21 pm

There was outrage last week when EMAS published its report on the findings of a three-month consultation.

It was intended to scope public opinion on proposals to drastically change the service, closing 66 ambulance stations including Worksop and Retford.

Bassetlaw MP John Mann and district councillor Graham Oxby wrote to EMAS chief Phil Milligan, claiming the results were ‘biased’ and dismissive of public feeling.

More than 19,000 people in Bassetlaw alone signed petitions opposing the closure of local ambulance stations. EMAS said it also had more than 2,900 individual responses and comments on the proposals.

The report claimed that most respondents supported the changes ‘in principle’. But there were also a number of serious concerns from members of the public, especially in relation to the level of cover and response times in rural areas.

A special scrutiny panel set up by Bassetlaw Council also formally opposed the proposals. And council leader Simon Greaves wrote to Mr Milligan to complain that this was not in the report.

In a letter seen by the Guardian, Mr Milligan replied that he and the trust board were ‘aware of the strength of feeling in the area on the proposals’. He added: “I assure you, these views will be factored into the resulting business case,”.

An EMAS spokesman said: “It’s encouraging that so many people across the region feel passionately about the ambulance service and have been able to have their say in shaping the proposals to improve response times and patient care.”

“As a direct result of the feedback from the consultation, we are now looking at additional options which will allow us to meet our Being the Best ambitions.”

He said further analysis would be given to the EMAS estate to make sure the final plans worked ‘operationally and financially’.

The estates plan will now be seen at the 25th March board meeting rather than the 28th January as originally planned.

The extra time will be used to ‘review alternative options and develop final proposals’.