Nottingham

New East Midlands Ambulance Service plan to go before board

After months of public consultation, a new proposal on the future location of ambulance stations in the East Midlands has been unveiled.

A plan to replace 65 ambulance stations with nine "superhubs", 19 stations and more than 100 community points will go before the board of the East Midlands Ambulance Service Trust (EMAS).

Earlier proposals had suggested 13 ambulance hubs and 118 smaller community ambulance posts.

Plans will go to the board on 25 March.

In a statement, EMAS said no decision has been made on the final recommendation.

Commenting on the publication of the board papers, its chief executive Phil Milligan said: "The aim of our change programme has always been to improve response times to emergency 999 calls and to improve the working lives of our frontline staff.

"We've listened to the responses received during the consultation and we've developed and shaped our plans using that feedback.

"Our service has got to change if we are to improve. I am confident that we will get it right for the people of the East Midlands."

'Frontline services'

But Colin Todd, of the GMB union, said they would continue to fight plans to close ambulance stations.

"Closing ambulance stations will not improve response times, that is absolutely clear," he said.

"These other measures which the ambulance service is putting in place may help and I understand they've had some extra funding to help maintain frontline services and crews and that's what they need, not closing ambulance stations."

The ambulance service ran a public consultation in 2012 on the future of its infrastructure, but faced strong local opposition to the reduction in the number of ambulance stations.

EMAS held a series of workshops where it consulted staff, councillors, union representatives, patients and other people about the changes.

The hubs would be larger than existing stations and would contain maintenance facilities.

The smaller community ambulance stations would only contain rest facilities - with some located in existing GP practices or fire stations.

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