Nottingham

MP John Mann's 'no ambulances fear' for rural 999 calls

An MP says he is concerned ambulances "will never respond to 999 calls" in rural areas in the East Midlands under proposed changes to the service.

Bassetlaw MP John Mann said East Midlands Ambulance Service's (EMAS) latest proposals meant emergency calls would get a "paramedic in a car".

EMAS said its proposals had never been about "removing or reducing ambulance resources".

Its final paper was released on Monday ahead of a decision expected next week.

The proposal to replace 65 ambulance stations with nine "superhubs", 19 stations and more than 100 community points is due before the board of the East Midlands Ambulance Service Trust (EMAS) on 25 March.

Mr Mann said: "If you live in a rural area you will never get an ambulance… you'll get a paramedic in a car... and I do not think that's a good enough way to run our ambulance service.

"This is cost-cutting to meet targets, giving resources to the big cities... but lives in rural areas are as valuable as those in cities."

In response, Phil Milligan, EMAS chief executive said: "The decision we make has to be right for our patients and right for our staff.

"I am confident that we will get it right for the people of the East Midlands."

EMAS also said the service had to change if improvements were to be made.

A spokesman said community paramedics would provide a faster response to 999 calls in rural areas.

The ambulance service ran a public consultation on its future last year but faced strong opposition to the reduction in the number of ambulance stations.

EMAS has said its hubs will be larger than existing stations and contain maintenance facilities. Smaller community ambulance stations would only contain rest facilities - with some located in existing GP practices or fire stations, it said.

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