Fewer ambulance stations for Northamptonshire

13 April 2012, 16:18 | Updated: 16 April 2012, 09:31

East Midlands Ambulance service says it wants to cut the number of its' bases from 65 to 12 so-called super-stations.

The plan is currently being drawn up ahead of publication this July, when it's thought the recommondation will be to spend money on some new bigger more efficient ambulance stations, instead of constantly spending cash on trying to maintain ageing bases across the East Midlands - currently the Trust spends £13m solely on the upkeep of the existing sprawling network of ambulance stations.

The Service has been widely criticised for response times and cleanliness of vehicles but in the most recent inspection, the Trust is now meeting all the key recommendations, up from the previous "poor" rating in 2009 and had been struggling to meet national targets for response times - in 2011, EMAS was fined £5m.

Phil Milligan, Chief Executive of the East Midlands Ambulance Service has told Heart: "We are already operating a system whereby paramedic vehicles are out of the bases for most of the day - situated at key sites to improve response times during the day, and in more residential areas in the evening. Spending so much money on buildings which are empty through most of the day just doesn't make sense."

Mr Milligan added: "Many of our crews have said there's not enough crews to always maintain the level of cover we'd like; and I would like to see the money we're spending on more crews and vehicles than on maintain ageing empty buildings."

Heart asked Mr Milligan if he could cost the new scheme and how many new super-stations planned, where they would be, but have been told those figures are currently unavailable because the plan is still being draw up, however: "The final figures, locations of new the new and existing stations will be published at the time of the report in July."

Mr Milligan concluded by saying: "I'm completely committed to making the East Midlands Ambulance service the best in the country, and spending money on staff and equipment is the way to do that, not on empty buildings."