Calls for paramedic transparency

By Harriet Ernstsons Friday 03 January 2014 Updated: 03/01 09:20

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Buy photos » Coun Rebecca Blake outside the town’s ambulance station. Picture by Jon Mullis 52.013.005.redd.jm1

A BOROUGH politician has called on ambulance chiefs to reassure residents paramedics are not being tied up outside of Redditch.

Coun Rebecca Blake has submitted a Freedom of Information request to West Midlands Ambulance Service to find out if cover has decreased since the introduction of the Make Ready scheme, which sees ambulances coming from hubs at the start of a shift and using community bases.

She is aiming to find out how often Redditch is without paramedic or ambulance cover and how B98, which is the busiest postcode in Worcestershire, is given adequate cover compared to other quieter areas, as well as whether extra provision is required now stroke services have been moved to the Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

Coun Blake said: “The ambulance service is receiving unprecedented levels of calls and I want to know if Redditch residents need an ambulance it won’t be stuck in Worcester or Birmingham instead of being in Redditch, especially when B98 is the busiest area for the ambulance service in the county.

“After a recent visit to the Bromsgrove Hub I could see what a sterling job paramedics are doing and under significant pressure. However, to have a situation where ambulances are unavailable more often than they are available while at the same time having to take more and more Redditch patients to hospitals further away is putting patients at unnecessary risk.

“For example, if someone had a stroke today, instead of a taking them a few miles up the road to the Alex, paramedics now have a forty mile round trip to Worcester which means the ambulance is not available for longer, but to date no extra provision has been made to deal with this.”

An ambulance service spokesman said they had been in contact with Coun Blake for a number of months and were happy to answer her latest questions.

“We continue to believe that the introduction of Make Ready has brought real advantages to the people of Worcestershire. These include freeing up the time of our clinical staff from cleaning vehicles to treating patients; introducing paramedics with higher skill levels so that they can treat more patients at home which is reducing the number of people going to hospital; improving the standards of infection prevention and control to even higher standards; investing in additional staff and resources in the area.

“We have previously provided her with all of the information she has requested and facilitated a visit to our hub in Bromsgrove. During the visit she was able to speak to staff and local managers about the current arrangements. At the time she appeared supportive of those comments and agreed to assist us in trying to find suitable locations to base our staff within Redditch for which we are grateful.”

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