Ambulance proposals are dangerous

John Mann is celebrating 10 years as an MP (w110610-3c)
John Mann is celebrating 10 years as an MP (w110610-3c)

You read it here first. In March I warned about ambulance station closures in Worksop and Retford.

Immediately several Doubting Thomas local councillors rushed in to print to say that I was making it up. Some even put out leaflets saying this. Well I was right and they were wrong.

The East Midlands Ambulance Service has proposed closing both Worksop and Retford ambulance stations. All ambulances will be based at Kings Mill hospital in Mansfield and will be sent to hang around street corners in Bassetlaw awaiting emergency calls.

If an ambulance needs cleaning, which often happens because of a patient’s condition, it will need to return from the hospital it has taken a patient to back to the other side of Mansfield.

Staff will be based at Mansfield. But our ambulances go to Sheffield for heart attacks, Doncaster for strokes and Bassetlaw for everything else.

These proposals absurd and dangerous, and we all know what will happen. Bassetlaw will get a second class service.

The ambulance service claims the service will improve - yet it admits that it has to make major cuts. If this is an improvement, then why wasn’t it done when there was more money around?

In fact what has happened is that faced with huge government cuts, the ambulance service is desperate to make savings. When Councillor Quigley and his colleagues voted to let Arriva trains bid for and then takeover the non-emergency service- which they did, they then lost the emergency service £5 million a year.

Our local ambulance stations are the training point for First Responders who volunteer to save lives. These people already make a huge difference and this voluntary support will collapse once the ambulances are in Mansfield.

In my view we need to expand first responding very significantly, not cut it. I also want defibrillators across our area, with people trained to use them in every workplace and public building.

This will save lives. Local ambulance stations are needed to drive this forward.

Bassetlaw is the size of Greater London. It takes an hour to travel from Kings Mill Hospital ambulance station to Misterton.

The truth is that the ambulance service in our area cannot cope already. New shifts have been introduced because of these planned cuts and tragic events have already happened.

I am concerned that there is worse is to come, but the real cost of these cuts are the lives of the people of Bassetlaw which are being put in danger.

Yet again, It is time to stand up and fight.