FEARS have been raised for the future of Worksop and Retford ambulance stations after new plans put forward by East Midlands Ambulance Service.
The service is looking to reduce its number of stations from 70 to 13 hubs - arguing that the cuts will provide better support for crews and improve response times and performance.
However, the announcement was met with anger and dismay by Bassetlaw MP John Mann - who fears that ambulances will have to travel from Mansfield to deal with local emergencies.
“Lives will be put at constant risk,” he said. “This is absolute madness and this announcement has been deliberately timed to coincide with the day the Parliament closes for the summer.”
Bassetlaw Council leader Simon Greaves agreed: “I am appalled by the outrageous proposals to close the Ambulance Stations in Retford and Worksop. These dangerous proposals benefit no one in Bassetlaw and in my view put lives at risk.”
“It looks to me that the battle lines have now been drawn over the future of our local ambulance service.”
He added: “EMAS are going to have a fight on their hands. The people of Bassetlaw won’t stand for this kind of rubbish.”
However, EMAS argue that the changes will ‘improve patient care and staff working lives’ and that the majority of EMAS’ ambulance stations which would be closed are already empty and in poor physical condition.
EMAS Chief Executive Phil Milligan said that the service ‘needs to change in order to improve’ and that these closures should see response to 999 calls improve by about five per cent.
“These plans are right for patients and right for our staff,” he said. “The changes are clinically focused allowing us to make better use of our clinicians’ skills, to deliver on performance targets and quality standards, improve patient outcomes, provide more care closer to home and will help us to improve the working lives of staff.”