PEOPLE can have their say on changes to the future of East Midlands Ambulance Service following the launch of a public consultation by the service today (Monday).
The service plans to replace 66 ambulance stations across the region with 131 community ambulance posts, standby points and hubs.
The community posts will be across the region in police, fire or other healthcare buildings, positioned where ambulance crews can be posted ready to respond to calls, make contact with local communities and use the rest facilities.
The hubs will be large super stations where ambulance crews will start their shift, collect a fully-equipped vehicle, and be a base for clinical and support staff.
The service will continue to use standby points, where crews wait for calls but do not have rest facilities.
The service 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 their call.
Service 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.
“The proposals focus on the way we deliver our services from stations and standby points. We must ensure that we spend our limited resources in making our frontline services that best they can be, rather than on updating old buildings that are not fit for the future.
“We’re really keen to hear everyone’s thoughts and ideas on these proposals, and help us to shape our future.”
Medical director for the service Dr James Gray said: “Our current buildings are in need of major repairs and refurbishment, with an estimated cost of £13 million needed to put them right.
“Fifty years after some of them were built, some are not in the best place to allow us to respond quickly nor are they based in the right places to achieve the most effective service.
“Our emergency ambulance vehicles are our mobile emergency treatment centres. We don’t provide direct medical care at our stations. The more money we can spend on our vehicles and our frontline colleagues, the better.
“As a vital member of the healthcare community, we must ensure that we get patients to the right care, in the right place, first time so they receive the best treatment possible.”
On Tuesday last week, Rutland and Melton MP Alan Duncan (Cons) met chief executive Mr Milligan and chairman Jon Towler in Parliament to discuss the changes to the service.
Mr Duncan said: “I was glad to meet the ambulance service chiefs to get a clear idea of their plans to improve response times, which have historically been poor but are getting better.
“I would encourage people to take a look at what is being proposed and respond. I have already heard concerns from constituents about what the changes might mean, but I would encourage people to add their voices to the consultation so the service get the best idea of what local people want to see happen.”
The consultation runs from September 17 to December 17.