East Midlands Ambulance Service are launching a public consultation today.
They plan to close their 66 ambulance stations around the region and in their place introduce 3 different types of waiting areas for crews and vehicles.
Community Ambulance Posts would be throughout the region in police, fire and other healthcare buildings. In these buildings, ambulance crews can rest whilst being on standby.
Standby Points will be dotted around the region, providing crews with a place to 'standby' whilst waiting for calls to come through.
13 Hubs will be purpose built. They will house the ambulances and be the place of training and support for clinicians. They will also be energy efficient.
The service has posted a list of reasons for the proposed change:
- We don’t treat patients in ambulance Stations – we are a mobile emergency health provider. Staff travel in ambulance vehicles to where help is needed.
- Our current buildings are in need of major repairs and refurbishment – it will cost us about £13 million to put them right.
- Our existing buildings are empty most of the time and we spend thousands of pounds each year on unnecessary lighting, heating and ground maintenance (grass and hedge cutting) costs.
- We want crews to be available to respond to 999 calls as soon as they come on duty – not spending the first 20-30 minutes of their shift checking the vehicle’s oil, water and tyres and restocking it with medical supplies.
- Most of our buildings are old and are not in the best location to respond to calls.
The consultation also involves a full scale review of how the service is managed. Changes could improve the response times and the care administered to patients. EMAS say that what they do won't change but how they get there will.
The East Midlands Ambulance service has launched the public consultation to try and understand how the public feel about the proposed plans and find out what they want.
Maps of where existing stations are and the proposed new stations will be, are on their website. It is also where the public can express their views on the proposed plans.
More reasons the service has issued for the proposed changes:
- We know that the number of 999 calls we receive will continue to increase in the coming years and we have to plan for the future – no change is not an option.
- We are not changing the way we respond to 999 calls.
- Every year, for the past five years, we have received around 5 per cent more 999 calls (last year we received over 776,000 emergency calls). To continue to meet demand, we need to use our resources better.
- Creating Community Ambulance Posts which include facilities for frontline staff, including toilets, an area to make hot drinks and a seating area where they can rest and have a meal break, will be a vast improvement to the current location of many standbys currently used i.e. a car park, lay-by without any facilities.
- Unlike current Ambulance Stations and the challenges we face because of their location and condition, our new Community Ambulance Posts can be flexible. This means that we can be ready for any change in the future to road networks or the size of communities.
The consultation begins today and will last until the middle of December.