Ambulance station facing the axe?
THE FUTURE of Harborough’s ambulance station has been put in doubt after a report revealed up to 55 of the region’s 65 hubs are facing the chop.
Bosses from East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) are looking at shutting more than three-quarters of the region’s stations and health campaigners fear a little ambulance HQ like Harborough’s would stand little chance of surviving the cull.
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The town’s station, built in the 1970s, is based in the grounds of St Luke’s Hospital in Leicester Road, Harborough.
District councillor and health campaigner Phil Knowles, who is calling for an urgent and early public involvement in any discussions, said: “.Our ambulance station’s future is uncertain. We need to ensure we protect and enhance our services. Ambulance cover is vital for our community.
“I will be consulting with residents at every opportunity to make sure they are aware of the situation and to ensure the community’s views are collated and heard.”
The move, published as part of a Draft Estate Strategy, will save EMAS an estimated £13million – cash it would have to spend bringing the buildings up to scratch. It has 65 stations and says it only needs between 10 and 14.
EMAS claims services will not be affected as stations are not used as much these days. Instead, EMAS says, crews are operating more from so-called ‘dynamic deployment’ spots – stand-by points that ambulances use at different times during the day and night to match predicted demand.
Harborough is covered by one double-crewed ambulance operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week and one fast-response vehicle operating every day between 7am and midnight. This can often be seen parked near the Old Grammar School in Church Square.
Harborough has one stand-by point which is used in addition to ambulance crews responding to 999 calls from other areas, for example en route back to Harborough if they have taken someone to hospital, or from the station if they are based there when a call comes through.
If the ambulance and fast-response vehicles are already responding to calls and a new 999 emergency is received from Harborough, the nearest and most appropriate available resource is sent – EMAS says it is this historic call data and the stand-by point which allows it to match demand and get to people quickly.
An EMAS spokeswoman said: “The Draft Estate Strategy is about changing the base of vehicles, it is not to reduce staff or vehicle provision.”
She stressed no decisions have yet been made about Harborough’s station. Further plans will be announced in July when a consultation will take place. The EMAS report states many of its stations are “old, functionally unsuitable, in need of investment, energy inefficient and operationally poorly located.”
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Weather for Market Harborough
Tuesday 18 June 2013
Temperature: 14 C to 21 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 13 C to 24 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North