Union vows to fight plans to change service

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A TRADE union has vowed to fight plans to replace ambulance stations with community hubs.

East Midlands Ambulance Service has launched a consultation on its scheme to replace 66 ambulance stations across the region with 131 community ambulance posts, standby points and hubs.

Ambulance stations in Stamford, Oakham, Bourne and Market Deeping are among those proposed to close but standby points are planned locally for Stamford, Oakham, Market Deeping, Morton and Oundle, with the nearest hubs in Kettering, Leicester and Lincoln.

GMB, which represents Emas staff, is opposing the plans, saying they could turn the ambulance service into a “postcode lottery”.

GMB organiser for Emas, Colin Todd, said: “We have sent a list of questions to Emas management to ascertain how they can make the claims about improved service, better staff welfare and the fiscal robustness of the proposals and we will want to see the evidence to support these claims.

“As it stands, GMB is totally opposed to the plan in its current format and will do everything we can to persuade the Emas management to think again.

“Staff working for Emas are loyal and dedicated to the NHS and the public they serve and they not want to turn a lifesaving service into a postcode lottery.”

Emas says the review is happening to provide patients with the best service possible by improving response times and ensuring the correct level of skilled clinician attends calls.

Last week, chief executive Phil Milligan said: “We are committed to being the best ambulance service we can be, and we know that we need to fundamentally improve the way we work to achieve this.

“These proposals have been developed with our clinical colleagues, and will ensure that we provide the best possible emergency and urgent care for all those living and working in the East Midlands.”

Rutland MP Alan Duncan (Con) met Mr Milligan and Emas chairman Jon Towler in Parliament two weeks ago to discuss the consultation.

Mr Duncan urged his constituents to look at the proposals and have their say.

The consultation runs from September 17 to December 17. For more visit www.emas.nhs.uk, call 0800 917 9911 or e-mail beingthebest@emas.nhs.uk