People in Northamptonshire are being urged to have their say on the possible closure of ambulance stations.
A public consultation, called ‘Being the Best’, has launched that asks the public their views on the changes to the future of East Midlands Ambulance Service.
Health bosses say the review aims to provide patients with the best service possible, by improving response times and ensuring the correct level of skilled clinician attends their emergency.
The proposals will also make the ambulance service more efficient and effective, both now and in the future, they say.
Phil Milligan, East Midlands Ambulance Service’s chief executive, said: “The proposals focus on the way we deliver our services from stations and standby points.
“We must ensure we spend our limited resources in making our frontline services that best they can be, rather than on updating old buildings that are not fit for the future.
“We’re really keen to hear everyone’s thoughts and ideas on these proposals, and help us to shape our future.”
The proposals involve creating Community Ambulance Posts and standby points, supported by state-of-the art purpose-built ‘Super Stations’.
Community Ambulance Posts will be across the region in police, fire, or other NHS existing buildings. They will be where ambulance crews can be posted ready to respond to calls and use the rest facilities.
EMAS will also continue to use standby points, such as the one near All Saints Church in Northampton, where crews wait for calls but do not have facilities.
There could be 131 Community Ambulance Posts, standby points and Super Stations, sited according to where they are most able to respond to calls received. This is based on data and information, as well as local knowledge of road networks and requirements.
Ambulances will respond from all three on a daily basis and they will replace the existing 66 Ambulance Stations across the East Midlands.
The Super Stations, Community Ambulance Posts and standby points will be Super stations will be where ambulance crews will start their shift, collect a fully-equipped, well maintained vehicle, and be a base for clinical and support staff.
Although there are concerns from staff that they may be asked to travel further to clock in as a result, re-arranging the places where ambulances respond to calls from is not likely to make 999 journey times longer for patients.
Dr James Gray, East Midlands Ambulance Service medical director, said: “Our current buildings are in need of major repairs and refurbishment, with an estimated cost of £13 million needed to put them right.
“Fifty years after some of them were built, some are not in the best place to allow us to respond quickly nor are they based in the right places to achieve the most effective service.
“Our emergency ambulance vehicles are our mobile emergency treatment centres. We don’t provide direct medical care at our stations. The more money we can spend on our vehicles and our frontline colleagues, the better.
“As a vital member of the healthcare community, we must ensure that we get patients to the ‘right care, in the right place, first time’ so they receive the best treatment possible.”
Copies of the consultation document, which includes further information and maps outlining the proposals, are available online at www.emas.nhs.uk,
by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org and by calling: 0800 917 9911 as well as at public meetings being held across the region.
The consultation runs until December 17.