Ambulance closure part of overhaul

By Ian Dipple 18/05 Updated: 18/05 09:44

Buy photos » Councillors are meeting with the ambulance trust to discuss the proposals. (s)

REDDITCH Ambulance Station is set to close as part of a major overhaul of the service.

But bosses at West Midlands Ambulance Trust insist the introduction of the Make Ready Scheme across Worcestershire will increase paramedic cover in the borough and is not a downgrading of the service.

The scheme will see the creation of a centralised 24/7 hub, with a site in Stanier Road near Worcester Warriors’ ground in Worcester currently being looked at.

A dedicated team of staff will prepare and service ambulances, freeing up the amount of time paramedics are off the road cleaning or re-stocking vehicles.

Once crews have collected their ambulance at the start of a shift they will then travel to 999 calls and when not needed will be based at three community ambulance stations across Redditch, one of which will be at the Greenlands Business Centre.

Two other sites have yet to be identified but Redditch Fire Station and a site in Church Hill have previously been mooted.

As a result the town’s ambulance station in Cedar Park Road will be sold and an ad-hoc base at the Alexandra Hospital will also be scrapped.

As part of the changes the trust is also introducing a Community Paramedic Team. They will be based in cars stocked with everything an ambulance will have - apart from a stretcher - and will be manned by a fully qualified paramedic who will have extra training allowing them to carry out assessments and minor treatments.

They will also be able to work with GPs and district nurses to ensure appropriate after care is provided.

The scheme is set to be introduced by the end of March next year and is in response to increasing demand against a backdrop of cuts in public spending.

But the move has caused concern among councillors and some residents with a protest group Keep An Ambulance Station in Redditch being set-up on Facebook.

Coun Rebecca Blake, Labour Parliamentary spokeswoman for the town, said: “One hub for Worcestershire based in Worcester cannot provide the quality of service Redditch needs. A second hub in Redditch makes sense for the north of the county, particularly as we have an extremely busy A and E at the Alex.”

Labour councillors are set to meet with the trust today (Friday) to discuss the proposals and are hoping to organise a second meeting open to the public.

A trust spokesman said: “This is a root and branch change to the way we run the service but rather than downgrading the service it is quite the opposite. We are upgrading, providing more cover and increasing the quality of the cover when we get there. We will be spending less on estates and more on frontline cover.”

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