Campaigner to meet under-fire ambulance boss

A campaigner against the proposed ambulance station closures will meet bosses to discuss the concerns of more than 1,000 people.

Following the announcment that East Midlands Ambulance Service is consid ering closing down stations in the county, Dorothy Maxwell launched a petition to save Rushden Ambulance Station.

After gathering more than 1,000 signatures she will now present the petition and talk through concerns with ambulance service chief executive Phil Milligan.

Mrs Maxwell, of Higham Road, Rushden, said: “Our concern is that these new hubs won’t be able to cover the same area as the stations.

“So it will just be a postcode lottery whether you get an ambulance or not. I don’t think Mr Milligan can ignore the strength of feeling with the petition and I’ll be looking for some answers when I meet him.”

But the service says many stations are left empty with ambulances on mobile standby in various locations in the county, and the proposed overhaul will mean crews can get to emergencies more quickly.

Mr Milligan said: “If I continue to waste public money on empty stations then I might not have as many ambulances to call on.

“This is a way of protecting my crews. If they are at the station, paramedics have to put down the call, put up the alarm and lock the doors before driving off.

“Those in standby locations can just drive off. This proposal has followed complaints that we haven’t been getting it right.”

The service could cut down its 65 stations, nine of which are in the county, to about 14 hubs supported by the standby sites. The proposal will be unveiled to board members at the end of July, before a public consultation.