Stations meeting delay

Market Harborough ambulance station. (Picture: Andrew Carpenter/001403-95)
Market Harborough ambulance station. (Picture: Andrew Carpenter/001403-95)

A MEETING to finalise plans for the future of ambulance stations in the district has been postponed until March.

East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) has delayed taking its Estates Business Case, which outlines proposed changes to the region’s stations, to a meeting on Monday.

The crunch board decision will now take place on Monday, March 25.

This is to give EMAS more time to work with staff representatives to review alternative options.

It announced in May last year that up to 55 of the region’s 66 stations could be axed to cut £13m from its budget.

EMAS plans to replace stations with so-called standby points, where crews will wait for calls but which do not have rest facilities.

It also wants to establish purpose-built hubs or ‘super stations’ in key towns and cities across the region.

EMAS says the changes will improve response times and make the service more efficient, but the proposals have met with opposition from health campaigners.

A public consultation in September revealed that Harborough’s station in Leicester Road would close. Lutterworth’s station in Gilmorton Road looks set to stay open after EMAS agreed a deal with the landlords, though its role would be reduced to that of a community standby point.

The 13-week consultation closed on December 17.

Meetings in Harborough on the subject were very poorly attended and responses from the consultation were mixed.

Some people feel the proposals will result in improved efficiency and better use of facilities while others have raised concerns about the effect on the environment, worries over crews’ geographical knowledge and concerns about provision for remote and rural areas.