Shropshire

Shropshire ambulances: Service to return in four towns

Full-time ambulance cover will return to four Shropshire towns from February.

A "fully operational" paramedic crew will be stationed in Bridgnorth, Craven Arms, Market Drayton and Oswestry from February.

West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) said the decision came in response to a rise in 999 calls.

The trust was previously criticised over treatment delays as a result of patients waiting for ambulances.

The service was withdrawn from the four towns in 2012 when WMAS decided to put its resources into fast-response cars instead.

Paramedics with advanced training stationed in the affected areas would summon an ambulance if a patient needed hospital treatment.

WMAS said it would create four new full crews by teaming the existing responders based in the four towns with a colleague from the main hubs in Shrewsbury and Telford.

'Right at the time'

Speaking to BBC Radio Shropshire, WMAS scheduling manager John Wright said the decision to reinstate full-time crews was not an admission its decision to remove them was wrong.

"It was right at the time... based on the best use of the funds we had available."

"The problem has been 999 calls have continued to rise. In Shropshire we had a 5.5% rise from 2012 to 2013 so we now have more cases that need the care of the community paramedic and more cases that need to go to hospital," he added.

A spokesman said its main objective would be to treat and discharge patients at the scene where possible, but they would be able to transport patients to A&E more quickly.

The spokesman added WMAS still did not have enough ambulances to cover the whole of Shropshire but was lobbying for more funding.

"The actual provision of does need to increase...and the negotiations with commissioners regarding front-line resourcing continue," he said.

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