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Ambulance cuts "on hold" till next year

Plans to cut night-time ambulance provision in Carlisle by a third have been scrapped till next year.

The North West Ambulance Service has confirmed that sweeping cuts across the North West of England - including the cuts in Carlisle - will not now go ahead as planned.

The NWAS says it has been granted an extra £6 million till April 2015.

The extra cash is coming from the Clinical Commissioning Group that controls its financial settlement.

But the NWAS can't guarantee that the same cuts won't be put back on the table by this time next year.

A petition of 11,000 people has been collected by ambulance staff against plans to reduce the number of ambulances covering the area around Carlisle in the nighttime from three to two.

This is a one off payment which will maintain resources at their current levels throughout the winter.

But we can't say this will be perminant. It's not a U-turn because we could well have to go through the same thing next year."

– Spokesperson, NWAS

Petition against ambulance cuts handed in at Downing Street

Tracey Morris, UNISON; Lee Sherriff, Labour parliamentary candidate; Mike Oliver, UNISON, handing in 11,000 petition at Downing Street. Credit: ITV Border

A 11,00-signature petition against ambulance service cuts in Carlisle has been handed in at Downing Street.

The petition was collected by UNISON and other protesters who are against plans by the North West Ambulance Service to cut night time cover in the city by a third.

The North West Ambulance Service has previously said that it is looking again at the planned cuts but that it has to make savings worth millions of pounds to front line services.

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Ambulance Service defends its position over cuts

To save money the North West Ambulance Service intends to reduce the number of ambulances covering Carlisle overnight from three to two.

Over a thousand people signed a petition against it and while many of you contacted us on social media to vent your anger at the plans.

In an interview with Lookaround's Paul Crone, the North West Ambulance Service defended their position.

Trapped man rescued from car

Firefighters rescued man who was trapped in his car following a crash.

They were called to assist the ambulance crew at a crash on Annan Road in Gretna, at about 4:50pm, yesterday, Wednesday 21 May.

Hydraulic cutting equipment was used to remove the roof of the car and release the man.

He and a second man were taken to Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service say the rescue was a joint effort of all services.

“All three emergency services were working closely – while firefighters were rescuing the casualty he was receiving treatment from paramedics as police officers marshalled traffic to ensure the safety of the scene.

“There is a very close working relationship between the emergency services in this area and that was clear to see throughout this operation.”

– Phil Birkett, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

More than 1,300 sign petition to prevent ambulance cuts

More than 1,300 people have signed a petition to prevent Carlisle's night-time ambulance cover being cut by a third. The planned changes would also see Penrith's cover reduced.

Officials say quality of care wouldn't be affected but the Health union claims the changes would affect response times.

Katie Hunter has this report:

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Appeal for witnesses of ambulance crash

A small red car left without stopping Credit: Cumbria Police

Police are appealing for witnesses of a crash in west Cumbria involving an ambulance.

They have released CCTV footage of the incident that happened on the B5301 between Moota and Aspatria at about 1am on Saturday 8 February.

A small red car failed to stop after colliding with the ambulance. The police would like to locate this car and speak to the driver. They recovered parts of the car from the scene.

The ambulance driver and his female colleague, both in their fifties, were left with minor injuries.

View: CCTV footage of ambulance crash

Anyone with any information should call Cumbria Police on 101 and ask for PC 1958 James Thistlethwaite.

Ambulance bosses say cuts will not affect care

Bosses at the North West Ambulance Service say that cuts to the ambulance cover in Carlisle will not affect the level of care.

The NWAS - which serves Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Lancashire as well as Cumbria - needs to save £13.8m in this financial year.

This equates to £6m from Corporate services, £6m from emergency services (with £2.1m coming from the frontline) and £1m from patient transport services.

Bosses plan to reduce the number of ambulances in Carlisle from three to two in the evenings and Penrith would lose a Rapid Response Vehicle between 2am and 7am.

“In terms of Corporate services, we are currently undertaking a review of services and it is possible that this may result in the loss of posts throughout the region. We have already reduced the Executive team by making two posts redundant.

– Alan Stuttard, Dep Chief Executive and Director of Finance, NWAS

“Any removal of services is done following a quality impact assessment as the Trust strives to ensure that the high standard of care we currently provide to patients is maintained and at this stage, these proposals are still under discussion. As part of an engagement exercise, we are discussing the savings we have to make with our staff.

“We have met with the unions to discuss what savings we propose to make. Once plans are finalised, we intend to fully discuss these with our external partners and stakeholders.”

– Alan Stuttard, Dep Chief Executive and Director of Finance, NWAS
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