East Midlands Ambulance Service stations plan approved

Image caption A new structure has been revealed for East Midlands Ambulance Service

Plans to reduce the number of ambulance stations in the East Midlands from 65 to 28 have been approved.

The new structure will create nine "super hubs" and 19 smaller stations, plus 108 community points, where ambulance staff will be based between calls.

The East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) board, which approved the plans, said they will improve response times.

But unions described the measures as "a cull".

The plans, which were subjected to lengthy consultation, will come into effect over the next five years.

EMAS faced opposition from residents in towns including Grantham and Hinckley who feared losing their ambulance stations.

'No jobs lost'

Chief executive of EMAS, Phil Milligan, said: "The way we operate now is not delivering the performance people deserve. The changes will improve response times by up to 4%."

Under the plans, the "super hubs" will maintain vehicles, while the small community points, located in GP practices or town halls, will contain rest facilities for staff.

No jobs are being lost as a result of the closures, the service said.

But Mark Hill, of Unison, said: "With 28 stations for the whole of the East Midlands, ambulances in rural areas are going to be travelling a lot further to reach patients."

Neville Jones, 38, from Brackley, Northamptonshire, said he did not believe the changes would help EMAS meet their eight minute response time target for life-threatening emergencies.

Mr Jones said he waited approximately 30 minutes for an ambulance after he helped a heart attack victim in 2011.

The incident occurred half a mile from Brackley ambulance station but the Brackley ambulance was attending an incident in Northampton.

When an ambulance arrived, the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr Jones said: "I'm pretty horrified about the level of service we get."

EMAS has apologised to Mr Jones in a letter.

Mr Milligan said: "Once these vehicles leave the ambulance station they can be deployed anywhere within the county."

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