By Gary Smee 02/08 Updated: 02/08 13:26
EVESHAM Ambulance Station will close as part of a major overhaul of how emergency treatment is provided in the county.
It comes after the Board of West Midlands Ambulance Service agreed to create two hubs in Worcester and Bromsgrove where ambulances are cleaned, stocked and prepared for their shift as part of the Make Ready scheme.
Evesham looks set to get a team of advanced community paramedics who have all the equipment carried in ambulances apart from a stretcher.
A number of lower cost and lower maintenance community ambulance stations will also open in Redditch, Kidderminster and Worcester.
Ambulances prepared at the hubs in Worcester and Bromsgrove will disperse to the community ambulance stations from where they will respond to medical emergencies across the county, including Evesham.
Sir Graham Meldrum, chairman of the West Midlands Ambulance Service Trust, said it was one of the most important projects the Trust has undertaken.
"It will undoubtedly bring real benefits for patients by allowing us to invest even more money in frontline services," he said. "Once fully implemented, Make Ready will free up resources that can be re-invested in patient care."
Mark Gough, assistant chief ambulance officer who is leading the Trust’s transformational team, said Make Ready would bring a number of advantages to patients.
"Response times are improved, many staff are trained to a higher clinical standard, the amount of time clinical staff are available to see patients is increased, there is a reduction in waste increasing efficiency and channelling additional resources into frontline services," he added.
But Evesham's MP Peter Luff said the decision to close the town's ambulance station must be subject to a proper public consultation.
"I am prepared to accept this could actually lead to better health outcomes, but the people of Evesham and the Vale must get categorical reassurances before this scheme goes ahead," he said.
"I worry this is exactly what happens when a regional body takes over local services. The needs of the outlying areas can too easily take second place.
"The villages and communities round Evesham are not always easy to find your way and local knowledge counts for a lot. And it’s a long way from Worcester to Broadway. We must be able to understand exactly how the new arrangements will work before we can accept them."
"And the needs of the loyal ambulance crews of Evesham must also be taken fully into account in any new service structure.
"I’m not saying this plan is necessarily wrong – although I fear it may be. But I am saying that the people of Evesham and the Vale are owed a detailed explanation and an opportunity to comment before any final decision is taken."
Make Ready is due to be fully implemented in Worcestershire next year.
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