CONTROVERSIAL plans to close ambulance stations in Worksop and Retford are set to go to public consultation in the next two weeks.
The proposals put forward by the East Midlands Ambulance Service will see them reduce their number of stations from 70 to 13 hubs.
However, the plans also show that Tactical Deployment Points will be facilitated nearby to provide frontline staff with a hot drink and toilet facilities where they would be locally parked. While the nearest ambulance hub would be in Kings Mill, the local TDPs would be in Worksop, Creswell and Retford.
Leader of the Bassetlaw Liberal Democrats Leon Duveen said that he was in favour of the changes, believing that they would help to improve the response times for ambulances.
“The change from fixed ambulance stations to hubs and TDPs will not mean that there are no Emergency Response Vehicles stationed in Bassetlaw,” he said.
“The Labour Party, as is often the case, have been scaremongering about ambulances having to come from King’s Mill.”
“The map of proposed TDPs shows clearly that EMAS are planning to station vehicles in the District.”
Bassetlaw MP John Mann however, has slammed the cuts as ‘absolute madness’.
“The medical director justified the cuts by saying that ambulances take people to urban areas in order to deliver them to hospital and therefore it is sensible to house ambulances in the major urban areas,” he said. “But our ambulances take people to Bassetlaw, Doncaster and Sheffield, yet the ambulances will be in Mansfield. It is a total shambles.”
EMAS Chief Executive Phil Milligan said: “To continue to implement our quality strategy and to meet current and future performance standards, EMAS has to change.”
“If we choose not to implement change, we will not be able to meet patient’s needs – as defined by response times, improve the working life of our staff, nor meet the financial challenges faced.
He added: “I encourage people to read our Board papers so they can be fully informed, and to make comment when our consultation is launched.”
A full three month public consultation begins in September allowing local people and staff to share their views. These will feed into the final plan that will go to the January 2013 EMAS Trust Board.
For information on the proposals and what they mean or to have your say you can visit www.emas.nhs.uk/about-us/trust-board.