Number of ambulance stations in the East Midlands could be slashed
The number of ambulance stations in the East Midlands could be slashed if new plans are approved.
Proposals put forward by East Midlands Ambulance Service, (EMAS) suggest reducing the 70 stations in the area to just 10.
Phil Milligan, the chief executive of EMAS, said the bigger stations would help provide a better service.
Mr Milligan has admitted that the response times have not been good enough.
He said: "We have about 65 ambulances stations... we probably need more like 10 to 14.
"The new ambulance stations will be bigger and they will be able to provide a better service to the staff.
"Response times have not been good enough and we are now trying to provide a better service.
"The new ambulance stations would help us provide a better service.
"The vehicles would be well maintained and better cleaned."
The plan to cut the number of stations comes as the EMAS has applied to become a trust, which is a sign of excellence.
"We want to move away from our bad image," Mr Milligan said.
The latest response figures for EMAS, which covers six counties - Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Rutland, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire - reveal that the service will be one of two regions that will fail to respond to less urgent demands for an ambulance.
Government guidelines suggest that an ambulance should be on scene to 75% of less urgent call outs within 19 minutes.
In 2011, EMAS was the slowest service in the country for responding to these less urgent calls with a response rate of 74.3% from 17,591 calls.
MP for Wellingborough in Northamptonshire Peter Bone has demanded the service focus on improving response times rather than on new ambulance stations, and renewed his call for a new hospital in the east of the county.
"Unless they actually make Northamptonshire a priority and at least get response times in Northamptonshire to government minimums, all these other changes are irrelevant.
"I want to see an improvement in the next three months."
The final plans are due to be drafted by July.