THE PARENTS of a Gainsborough schoolboy who died after paramedics took 40 minutes to arrive have spoken out as the public consultation on plans to axe the town’s ambulance station comes to an end.
East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) has spent three months asking people to share their views on proposals to close nearly all of the area’s 66 stations - including Gainsborough.
An inquest last year heard that former Charles Baines Community Primary School pupil Callum Rhys James was just 11-years-old when he attempted to take his own life at home on 4th September 2011. Coroner Stuart Fisher said it was ‘unacceptable’ that it took an ambulance 40 minutes to arrive.
“I’m disgusted,” said Callum’s father Martin. “The ambulance should have been there a lot sooner than it was - and things will only get worse if the town’s station closes.”
“We’ve lost our 11-year-old son. They shouldn’t be making cuts - they should be investing in the station. Gainsborough is a growing community with growing needs and we currently have less health facilities than we did in the 1980s and I find it bewildering.”
EMAS says that axed stations will be replaced with 13 hub bases leading to ‘better facilities to ensure each ambulance is clean, well maintained and fully stocked at the start of each shift’.
Gainsborough MP Edward Leigh said: “The proposal to shut Gainsborough’s ambulance station is exceptionally unwise.”
“I understand very well the need to increase efficiency and pool resources. However the public need is the absolute priority, and the Gainsborough ambulance station provides vital services to those who live and work in the surrounding area.”
At their last meeting earlier this month, EMAS published a report that revealed that 95,150 people across the region signed 11 petitions expressing opposition to their proposals. Over 42 public meetings also took place in opposition to the cuts.
EMAS is expected to make a final decision at a further meeting to be held on Monday 28th January at Trust Headquarters in Nottingham. For info or to have your say visit www.emas.nhs.uk/about-us/trust-board