Thousands sign Grantham ambulance stations petition

Campaigners have gathered more than 12,500 signatures opposing plans by East Midlands Ambulance Service (Emas) to close a local station.

Emas wants to close 53 ambulance stations across the region and open 13 purpose-built "hubs" and 131 standby and community ambulance posts.

Under the plans, Grantham would see its ambulance station closed - with the nearest hub located near Sleaford.

Ian Selby, from campaign group Last Gasp, said it was a "fob-off".

He said: "We gathered 12,520 over 23 days - an incredible figure which shows the strength of feeling here against the proposals.

'Done deal'

"Our station at the moment is literally two minutes away from the town centre - it's in an excellent position - If they want to create these community hubs, then give us one in Grantham."

He added: "We can only hope that they are honourable people and that this consultation process is not a done deal."

Dr James Gray, medical director for Emas, said: "The point of doing a consultation is for people to tell us what they want from local services - which extends far beyond the buildings and the estates which we have been primarily consulting on.

"It is a sensitive issue and we would be naive not to recognise that when we talk about closing an ambulance station - people might see that as a loss of an NHS resource in their area."

He added: "The thing we keep emphasising to people is that nobody gets treated at an ambulance station - treatment is done from our ambulances with the highly skilled staff we have.

"The changes are about getting those vehicles to people more quickly when they need them.

Emas covers Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire and handles more than 600,000 calls a year.

In 2011, it was the slowest service in the country for attending less urgent calls with a response rate of 74.3% from 17,591 calls.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites