Kettering public hear ambulance station closure proposals

EMAS is proposing to set up regional ambulance hubs
EMAS is proposing to set up regional ambulance hubs

Ambulance bosses have forced to defend proposals which would see Northamptonshire lose all but two of its current stations.

East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) is running a formal consultation on its proposals, which would see Kettering and Northampton stations upgraded to “hubs”, while the county’s other seven stations were shut.

They would be replaced with 20 community ambulance posts and standby points, which would provide limited services for ambulance staff.

Andrew Spice, commercial director at EMAS, told the public meeting at Kettering Conference Centre today (Wednesday, October 24) his organisation needed to be upgraded.

But local residents questioned whether scrapping stations would improve services.

Mr Spice said ambulance staff had to spend too much of their time on jobs like cleaning and maintaining their vehicles when they should be “on the front line”.

He said: “Our clinicians spend a lot of time making sure their vehicles are ready for use. 55 per cent of complaints we have are about the time we take to get to patients.

“We have still got a long way to go before we deliver a top-class service.”

Mr Spice also described the proposed hubs as “fit for purpose, ready for the 21st-century”, as opposed to the existing stations which were built decades ago.

Around 20 members of the public attended the meeting, an improvement on a similar meeting earlier this month in Northampton, when only eight people turned up.