'Super hub' plan for ambulances in West Midlands

West Midlands Ambulance Service says it wants to replace its old buildings and build a "super station" in Shropshire.

The plans, which the service said were aimed at efficiency rather than savings, will see a £500,000 central hub built near Shrewsbury.

Older buildings in the region will be updated where possible or replaced by one or more "response posts".

The service, which serves the whole of the West Midlands region, said it would not leave anywhere without cover.

Spokesman Chris Kowalik said the proposals were about "rebuilding" the ambulance service.

'Community paramedic'

"Nowhere where there is an ambulance station will end up without something," he said.

"In every market town in the county where there is currently an ambulance station, it'll either remain, if deemed in the right place. If it's not suitable, we will find something suitable in the right place.

"You could have more than one base where there is currently just one station."

He said there will also be ring-fenced, 24-hour dedicated community paramedics working with the service.

Response posts will be where rapid response vehicles and ambulances can standby in between 999 calls, a spokesman confirmed.

For example, they could be at shared locations like fire stations or other community bases.

Mr Kowalik said they had been searching for land initially in Emstry and a secondary choice would be in Battlefield.

They have also appealed to estate agents for suitable land.

He said Shrewsbury was the best area "statistically" to put the hub after studying data about traffic, "movement of vehicles and the nature and pattern of 999 calls".

Services in Hereford and Worcester, Coventry and Warwickshire, West Midlands and Shropshire merged to form a regional service in 2006 with Staffordshire joining in October 2007.

It covers about 5,000 square miles and serves a population of 5.3m, the service said.

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