Lincolnshire scrutiny committee to ask Secretary of State to review Emas consultation

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Lincolnshire’s health scrutiny committee will write to the Secretary of State to demand a review of an East Midlands Ambulance Service consultation which it describes as “flawed”.

The committee, made up of eight county and seven district councillors, decided to write to Jeremy Hunt MP at its meeting on Wednesday last week after expressing concerns over the service’s consultation process and ambulance response times.

The service, known as Emas, announced the results of its consultation on Monday. Ambulance stations across the county will close, including those in Stamford and Bourne, and be replaced by nine central hubs, 19 smaller stations and 108 community ambulance posts. One of the smaller stations would be in Market Deeping.

The scrutiny committee thinks the consultation process was flawed and wants eventually to return to a dedicated ambulance service for Lincolnshire.

Chairman and county councillor Christine Talbot (Con) said: “On behalf of all residents in Lincolnshire – who deserve, and are not receiving the best response times from their ambulance service – the health scrutiny committee for Lincolnshire has today decided to ask the Secretary of State to review Emas’ consultation.

“We believe the consultation is flawed; key parties were not invited to comment, new options not consulted on, and both public and stakeholder events poorly attended.

“Despite the goalposts changing, and new options being introduced at the 11th hour, Emas’ proposals still entirely fail to address how they will start meeting response time targets for our county.

“Emas has not met targets for the last 21 months in Lincolnshire and this isn’t good enough. It is not acceptable for voluntary organisations such as Lives and other emergency services, who make a valuable contribution to response times, to prop up the ambulance service.

“The committee therefore has no confidence that Emas’ pledge of ‘Being the Best’ will happen in Lincolnshire without considerable extra financing and will therefore be referring the matter to the Secretary of State.

“Our ultimate goal is to return a dedicated ambulance service to the county.”