Ambulance service consultation is 'not working' in Northamptonshire

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A public consultation looking at proposals to change ambulance services in Northamptonshire is "not working", a Labour county councillor said.

The East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) wants to cut stations across the east region from 70 to 13.

EMAS said it was happy with the current level of consultation and response.

But councillor Mark Bullock, who sits on the authority's health scrutiny committee, said not enough people knew about the proposals.

Under the plans, the number of ambulance stations in the county would be reduced from nine to two.

'Concerns and opinions'

Mr Bullock, who is against the changes, said: "The consultation exercise is definitely not working.

"The county council is the primary scrutiny body for the health service and it has the powers to call in and effectively block substantial changes to the service.

"Unless EMAS can prove that more people in the county have been consulted, I would recommend that the process has been flawed."

Mr Bullock said the council had contacted EMAS to express concerns over the way the consultation was being handled.

In Northamptonshire, the first meeting at Northampton Saints' rugby ground on 12 October was attended by eight people.

However Phillip Milligan, chief executive of EMAS, said he was pleased with the whole process.

He said: "As far as I'm concerned, we have had more than 77 meetings with local authorities and other bodies.

"Although there may not have been many people at the meetings in Northamptonshire, the quality of discussion has been really good.

"People have had more time to address their concerns and opinions.

"Being able to talk to the public and get their feedback is important. We are happy to seek the help and guidance that the public and our staff are giving us."

EMAS said more meetings were planned for Corby, Daventry and Rushden.

The public consultation process is expected to end on 17 December.

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