Ambulance stations in Stamford, Bourne and Oakham will close as part of a radical shake up by East Midlands Ambulance Service, it was confirmed today (Monday).
At a meeting held at Kings Mill Hospital in Sutton in Ashfield, the service trust’s board members agreed to proceed with the final recommendation of the Being the Best change programme, which will see nine central hubs created, 19 stations and 108 smaller community ambulance posts.
Under the proposal the nine hubs, which will host fleet workshops, will be located at Grantham, Leicester, Kettering, Boston, Lincoln, Northampton, Derby, Scunthorpe and Nottingham.
The 19 smaller stations will be located at Market Deeping, Melton Mowbray, Market Harborough, Grimsby, Gainsborough, Louth, High Peak, Worksop, Skegness, Newark, Eastwood, Ashbourne, Sleaford, Ashby de la Zouch, Loughborough, Hinckley, Brackley, Chesterfield and Kings Mill near Mansfield.
These stations will only contain rest facilities, with some located in existing GP practices or fire stations.
Under the plans confirmed by Emas today the ambulance stations in Ryhall Road, Stamford, South Road, Bourne, and Station Road, Oakham, will close.
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.
“The final recommendation was created after three months of consultation, and a further two and a half months of engagement allowing our staff and the public including other healthcare providers, councillors and MPs, to have their say and help to shape our plans.
“The way we operate now is simply not delivering the performance that local people deserve and national government expects.
“The aim of our ‘Being the Best’ 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.
“Moving to a hub-and spoke-model means that ambulances will be deployed more efficiently and will be nearer to patients.
“Clinicians will be supported by make ready teams based at each hub and ambulance station to clean and stock our emergency vehicles, thereby allowing our skilled crews to get out on the road faster to respond to calls and ensuring that they have the right equipment with them.
“The introduction of community ambulance stations will mean crews no longer have to return to large urban-centre ambulance stations and will be less likely to be drawn away from more rural areas. Indeed, we have also announced a trial of community paramedic schemes – which will see paramedics ring-fenced to a rural area, ensuring a local presence.
“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.”
The changes will not be immediate. Emas will use the next three to six months of the new financial year to progress its planning and implementation. The changes will take place over the next five years.