A public consultation about the closure of ambulance stations in Ilkeston and Eastwood is being launched on Monday.
The East Midlands Ambulance Service ‘Being the Best’ consultation asks the public their views on the changes to the future of the service under the new proposals.
Health bosses say the efficiency changes will provide patients with the best service possible by improving response times and ensuring the correct skilled clinician attends their call.
However, many residents have already expressed their concerns about the changes amid fears of increased waiting times.
Under the proposals there will be 131 community ambulance posts, standby points and hubs. Ambulances will respond from all three on a daily basis and will replace the existing 66 ambulance stations across the East Midlands.
The hubs will be large ‘super stations’ where ambulance crews will start their shift, collect a fully-equipped, well maintained vehicle, and be a base for clinical and support staff. Community ambulance posts and standby points will be sited according to where they are most able to respond to calls received based on data and information, as well as local knowledge of road networks and requirements.
One of the standy points is expected to be in Eastwood with another rumoured to be at Ilkeston Community Hospital on Heanor Road.
Phil Milligan, East Midlands Ambulance Service Chief Executive, 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.”
Dr James Gray, East Midlands Ambulance Service Medical Director, 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.”
Copies of the consultation document, which includes further information and maps outlining the proposals, are available from Monday and can be found online at www.emas.nhs.uk, by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 0800 917 9911 and at public meetings being held across the region.
The consultation runs from 17 September to 17 December.
For more reaction see next week’s Advertiser.