By Ian Dipple 20/06 Updated: 20/06 11:13
A NEW ambulance station could be built in Redditch after it was revealed a second hub would be created in the north of the county.
West Midlands Ambulance Service has been forced to rethink plans to overhaul the service as it has been unable to find a site in Worcester large enough to create a 24/7 centralised hub where ambulances would be stocked, cleaned and refuelled before being sent out to respond to 999 calls.
As a result it has now been decided to upgrade the existing station on Spetchley Road in the city and create a second hub for the north of county which will be in either Redditch or Bromsgrove. It is likely if Redditch is chosen a new site would have to be found because the existing station in Cedar Park Road is too small while if Bromsgrove is the selected location the existing station on Barnsley Hall Drive in Lickey End will be refurbished.
The changes are part of the Make Ready Scheme which the service wants to roll out across Worcestershire by the end of March 2013 to improve efficiency and allow more people to be treated at the scene where appropriate, rather than being taken to hospital.
If Redditch is chosen as the base for the North Worcestershire hub then it will mean only two other community ambulance stations, which will act as response posts, will be created, one of which has previously been confirmed as the Greenlands Business Centre. The community paramedics, who will have extra training allowing them to carry out assessments and minor treatments, will still be introduced.
The original plans were heavily criticised by borough councillors and an emergency motion was passed recently calling for the creation of a second hub in North Worcestershire and for a period of formal consultation.
But Chief executive Anthony Marsh said although they had listened to concerns it was not the reason behind the rethink.
"The review of the original decision has been based upon our inability to find a large enough location in the right place in Worcester. As a consequence of that we've reviewed the sites that are available, we have an excellent site already in Worcester and the current proposal is we refurbish that site and look for a second site simply because the existing site, albeit it is in a good location, it simply isn't large enough to accommodate all of the ambulances, all of the response cars for Worcestershire so that is the only reason we are now looking for a second site."
Deputy chief executive Barry Thurston added it was not a unique decision as they had done the same in Shropshire when faced with an identical problem.
"We are not inflexible in that respect, we are looking at what are the best options for us. Our major problem is not the building itself it is all the parking you require for the ambulances and staff likely to work there, it's considerable."
A final decision is expected at a board meeting on Wednesday, July 25.
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