Have your say on ambulance station closures at Kettering meeting

Campaigners like Dorothy Maxwell are against the ambulance station closures plan
Campaigners like Dorothy Maxwell are against the ambulance station closures plan

Patients in the north and east of the county can have their say on plans to close the majority of Northamptonshire’s ambulance stations in a roadshow this month.

Are unveiling plans in July to close every station in the county bar Kettering and Northampton, East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) has put its controversial ideas to public consultation, and this includes a meeting at Kettering Conference Centre, in Thurston Drive, on Wednesday, October 24, from 2pm.

Instead of using the 11 ambulance stations in the county, the service will create ‘super-stations’ at Kettering and Northampton, while ambulances that are not attending emergencies will be deployed from hubs that will be dotted around the county.

It is the service’s plan to improve its poor response times, despite an improvement in recent months.

However proposals caused uproar from residents, who argue ambulances will not get to patients if they are not deployed from the current county stations.

EMAS 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.”

Another public consultation will take place at Saints Rugby Club’s ground Franklin’s Gardens in Northampton, on Friday, October 12, from 10am.

Another public event is expected to be announced in due course to take place in the county in November.

EMAS medical director 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.”

The consultation runs until December 17.

Copies of the consultation document, which includes further information and maps outlining the proposals, are available online at www.emas.nhs.uk