Different options discussed for future of ambulance service

Health chiefs have changed their plans for the future of ambulance stations in the East Midlands and delayed a final decision for two months.

East Midlands Ambulance Service is considering replacing its 65 stations with large hubs and community posts.

But it has put back the decision until 25 March and is now looking at new options following a consultation.

The GMB union said it was pleased it appeared to be listening but said the changes were unnecessary.

Strong opposition

The ambulance service ran a public consultation in 2012 on the future of the existing infrastructure, changing from 65 stations and replacing them with 13 large hubs and 118 community ambulance posts.

But, according to the GMB which has met with senior officials this week, it has now come up with four further proposals which are:

  • No change
  • No change to the organisation but take on more staff and vehicles
  • Keep the stations but create more community ambulance points
  • Create 27 hubs and 108 community ambulance posts

East Midlands Ambulance Service (Emas) refused to confirm what the new proposals were but following a meeting on Thursday admitted it was considering different options.

The original plans were met with fierce opposition and about 45,000 people signed 10 petitions against the closure of their ambulance stations including: Bassetlaw, in Nottinghamshire; Grantham, Louth and Bourne in Lincolnshire; Hinckley in Leicestershire; and New Mills and Buxton in Derbyshire.

A further 51,000 signed a regional petition organised by Unison.

An Emas spokeswoman said: "As a direct result of the feedback from the consultation, we are now looking at additional options which will allow us to meet our 'Being the Best' ambitions.

"On the Emas estate, in particular, it means we will be carrying out further analysis to make sure the final proposals work operationally and financially."

Colin Todd, regional officer for GMB, said it was promising that the service appeared to be listening.

But he added: "I don't think changing the estate is the answer, it won't improve response times."

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