Final decision made on future of ambulance service

The trust board of the East Midlands Ambulance Service today agreed to proceed with final recommendations for the future of the service.

This means EMAS will continue to develop plans to create 9 hubs, 19 ambulance stations and 108 community ambulance stations as part of their Being the Best change programme.

For Daventry this means a community ambulance station will serve the town instead of the current ambulance station on Staverton Road. Daventry’s nearest ambulance hub, where vehicles can be cleaned, maintained and restocked, will be Northampton North and nearest ambulance station will be in Brackley.

East Midlands Ambulance Service Chief Executive, Phil Milligan said: “This programme sets out how we will improve response times across the East Midlands and ensure that we are providing the right care. The changes will be better for staff, with more support and time to care for patients – not vehicles.”

Cllr Wendy Randall, who fears the change will leave Daventry improperly served, said she was frustrated at today’s decision.

She said: “At the meeting today I wanted to know how EMAS were going to reassure me that response times would improve for our area but they didn’t answer my question.

“I feel Northamptonshire has come off worse from these plans and that we are always forgotten about but I will be speaking to the union and I won’t let this one drop.”

Final recommendations were created following three months of consultation and two and a half months of public meetings and engagements.

Mr Milligan said: “The way we operate now is simply not delivering the performance that local people deserve and national government expects.

“The aim of our programme has always been to improve response times to emergency 999 calls and to improve the working lives of our frontline staff.

“The changes we have approved at our Trust Board meeting today will improve performance on life-threatening calls by nearly four per cent. People suffering a serious illness or injury can also expect to receive a faster response. These changes are on top of our announcement last week of 140 more frontline posts and a £120,000 investment in community defibrillators. Far from cutting costs, as has been the claim by some, EMAS is investing in public safety and frontline crews.

“Moving to a hub-and spoke-model means that ambulances will be deployed more efficiently and will be nearer to patients.”

Mr Milligan added that this approach has been successful in the rural South-West and urban West Midlands.

He said ‘make ready teams’ based at each hub to clean and stock vehicles will allow crews to get on the road faster to respond to calls.

The next three to six months of the new financial year will be used to plan and implement the 108 community ambulance stations, twinning of the proposed existing ambulance stations and further development of the estate strategy.

Mr Milligan added: “We believe that these changes will improve response times and our aims of better patient care, faster responses and improved working lives for our staff will be achieved.”