Ambulance station could be downgraded

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Belper’s ambulance station could be downgraded to a “tactical deployment point” as part of proposals to close dozens of stations.

East Midlands Ambulance Service chief executive, Bill Milligan this week unveiled proposals to close 29 stations across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire and replace them with four “hub” centres.

Under the proposals Belper would become a deployment point, meaning crews would have to collect and drop off their vehicle at Chesterfield or Derby at the beginning and end of each shift.

However, as reported in the News, the ambulance station could effectively survive the county closures as it already operates out of a small building – although that would depend on the result of an analysis of 999 calls in the area.

In other affected areas crews would be working out of locations, such as car parks and lay-bys, as the new deployment points are introduced.

Mr Milligan said: “We don’t want to be in a situation where we are throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

“I would not be happy with a headline that said Belper station will close,” Mr Milligan said. “I was quite impressed with what I saw at Babington Hospital – we may well still use it but there may be some changes introduced.

“However, it may be that we find that the best place is 200 yards up the road. Whatever happens there will be a presence in Belper. It’s just a question of where it will be.”

Money raised from selling the old ambulance stations will pay for construction of the larger hubs.

EMAS said the 131 tactical deployment points would allow the service to maintain a presence in all of its towns which currently had an ambulance station.

In a statement the public sector union Unison said it was concerned about the effect that the extra travelling would have on staff.

The statement read: ”It is important that EMAS considers the impact of these closures on staff welfare and the ability of staff to have breaks during the day, and just as important the extra travel time that will be involved at the beginning and ending of a shift.”

Mr Milligan said the move would improve staff conditions.

A final decision on the closures will be made by the EMAS board in January.