Opposition to closure plans has grown

Frank Holmes, 71 waited an hour for an ambulance.
Frank Holmes, 71 waited an hour for an ambulance.
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A pensioner with severe chest and heart problems has said he fears for the safety of Ilkeston folk if the town’s ambulance station closes.

An ambulance took just over an hour to reach Frank Holmes, 71, after he suffered an angina attack earlier this month.

Paramedics in a separate car reached his Little Hallam Lane home within 35 minutes of his call on November 6, but the ambulance to take him on to Royal Derby Hospital for treatment did not arrive for a further half hour.

Mr Holmes, who suffered ten heart attacks and had to have a triple by-pass operation in 2000 said if paramedics had taken as long to get to him back then, he would have died.

“It’s disgusting,” he said.

“If they are closing an ambulance station here in Ilkeston it’s going to take them even longer to get out to the patients that need them .

“If I can do anything to try to prevent them closing out station I will do it because I think it’s wrong what they are planning.

“They are putting lives at risk.”

Consultation on whether to shut 66 stations across the East Midlands, including Ilkeston’s in Manor Road, ends on December 17.

East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) says that under the plans, the stations would be replaced with 131 community ambulance posts, standby points and hubs.

Ambulances will respond from all three on a daily basis

The hubs, including in Derby and Chesterfield, will be large ‘super stations’ where ambulance crews will start their shift, collect a vehicle, and be a base for clinical and support staff.

Community ambulance posts –one of which is thought to be planned for Ilkeston Community Hospital in Heanor Road – and standby points will be sited at strategic points throughout the region.

Mr Holmes was in hospital for a week after the attack.

“I was bad, I was really poorly,” he said.

“If that was 10 years ago, I would not have made it.”

EMAS medical director Dr James Gray said: “There is no direct link between clinical care and ambulance stations because we don’t treat patients in our stations. Ambulances are mobile emergency treatment centres. The more money we can spend on vehicles, and colleagues who work on the frontline, the better.”

To join in the consultation visit www.emas.nhs.uk.