Revised ambulance plans mean more stations will remain
AMBULANCE bosses who drew up radical plans to change the way their workers operate – after three years of "poor performance" – have now revised the proposals.
Last April, East Midlands Ambulance Service unveiled controversial plans to replace the county's 16 ambulance stations with two "super stations", or "hubs", in Derby and Chesterfield – where vehicles would be cleaned and stocked.
It also wanted to set up about 30 "community ambulance posts", where staff can take breaks and restock.
Instead it is now proposing, in a report published ahead of next week's meeting, to create one hub in Derby, at Raynesway, three stations at Chesterfield, High Peak and Ashbourne and 25 community ambulance stations, or posts, across the county.
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The station closures were part of bigger proposals, called Being the Best, to change the way the trust operates and also because it would cost £13 million to bring some of the region's stations up to "NHS standards".
EMAS bosses also explored how paramedics could be "freed up" to deal with life-threatening calls, by sending other medical staff to less urgent calls, and whether some management posts would be cut.
But, over the past year, campaigners have been raising concerns that the changes would leave rural parts of the region without sufficient ambulance cover.
In January this year, they won a two-month reprieve when ambulance bosses put off making a decision until March 25 – saying they would use the extra time to look at different options, include keeping some stations.
Following the publication of next week's report, trust chief executive Phil Milligan said: "I am pleased our staff, and the people and organisations who have an interest in the service we provide, have taken the time to be involved, to have their say and help to shape our plans."