Northamptonshire ambulance cuts meeting 'a joke'

A public meeting over ambulance cuts in Northamptonshire was described as a "joke" after eight people attended.

The meeting was held to discuss East Midlands Ambulance Service's (EMAS) plans to close 53 ambulance stations, including seven in Northamptonshire.

The criticism came from Labour county councillor Mark Bullock who said future consultations must be better publicised if they were to be fair.

But EMAS denied there were problems with the consultation.

EMAS plans to close 53 stations across the wider region, replacing them with 13 "hubs".

Under the plans, seven of Northamptonshire's nine ambulance stations would close and there would be new "tactical deployment points" for staff to use while waiting for calls.

The number of ambulance stations in Leicestershire would be cut from 11 to two, and in Derbyshire the number would reduce from 16 to two.

'More effort needed'

Nottinghamshire would lose all but two of its 13 stations and in Lincolnshire the number would reduce from 18 to five.

The meeting at Northampton Saints' rugby ground was the first in the county held on the issue.

Mr Bullock said: "Not only were eight members of the public there, but three of those were councillors.

"EMAS is going to have to put a lot more effort into letting more people know about these meetings.

"The plans just don't stack up because having less stations would mean more time would be wasted in getting to patients."

A county council scrutiny committee has already agreed to put a motion forward to suggest the changes are discussed in parliament.

Phil Milligan, chief executive of EMAS, said: "I was actually pleased with the meeting and there are many more planned for the county so people will get to find out about the new plans.

"We have been letting our patients down. We predict that the use of hubs will increase our performance significantly."

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