Ambulance anger brews at meeting

‘CHALLENGING, candid and frank’ is how ambulance bosses described a public meeting in Worksop this week.

East Midlands Ambulance Service chiefs were met by a packed room of residents on Tuesday night. Many were ready to thrash it out to try and save both of Bassetlaw’s ambulance stations.

It is planned to close the Worksop and Retford stations, along with 64 others under EMAS’ Being The Best consultation, which aims to provide better response times.

Ambulances would be based at 131 community ambulance posts or standby points across the East Midlands region.

Cleaning, re-stocking and staff support would be provided at 13 large super stations or ‘hubs’. But the nearest hub to Worksop would be Mansfield.

The panel tried to reassure the room that they would not see a difference in the level of service.

“The ambulances are our treatment centres. If I was getting treatment I would want to know the ambulance was clean, the staff were skilled and I could be taken to a place of safety,” said David Farrelly, director of workforce and strategy for EMAS.

EMAS project director Richard Henderson added: “There will be no reduction in ambulance cover. In fact it is our aim to increase the level and types of cover.”

“This model is looking at our estate and the resources and support our staff get.”

But Bassetlaw folk made their feelings clear, that our large rural district needs more cover.

MP John Mann said: “I want you to rethink and come back with more proposals to a new meeting, because it is not a model that is going to be accepted in this area.”

And resident Rob Pickford said: “There is no-one in this room that doesn’t want an improved ambulance service in Bassetlaw.”

“But I think a lot of work needs doing, in consultation and co-operation with our elected officials.”

“Come back and tell us the real things you are going to be doing - not the theory - because not many of us understand it.”

Another woman said: “I feel we are getting no concrete proposals for what is going to happen in Bassetlaw.”

“Without that confidence I fear lives are going to be lost.”

Clarborough resident Ron Evans pointed out the risks inherant in Bassetlaw’s long stretches or river, rail and roads, plus airports like Gamston, Ranby prison and Rampton high security hospital.

He said: “We want an ambulance hub in Bassetlaw.”