Call for health secretary to consider plans

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The Secretary of State for Health could be asked to look at plans to close scores of ambulance stations amid fears it would affect patient care.

Lincolnshire County Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee members will be asked to pass a number of resolutions at their meeting on Wednesday to enable them to refer East Midlands Ambulance Service’s Being the Best proposals to Jeremy Hunt.

The committee believes the plans, which would see the current 66 ambulance stations closed and replaced with just 13 hubs and around 120 community ambulance points, would have a detrimental effect on response times – already among the worst in the country.

A document outlining the committee’s case for a referral says: “The committee’s long-standing concerns in relation to response times are a matter of public record. This makes any reconfiguration of ambulance stations particularly pertinent.”

The referral could also be made on the grounds the ambulance service has failed to consult with the committee and that the 13-week public consultation did not include enough detail on the possible location of the hubs and ambulance points.

Members of the committee have been invited to attend three stakeholder workshops, including one in Lincolnshire this week, but they have only had three weeks to consider the information pack which lays out five options – including one which has not been seen before.

That option is for 27 hubs and 108 community ambulance points which would be identified by a detailed mapping process taking into account ambulance response times as well as staff travel times from home.

East Midlands Ambulance Service is due to make a decision on March 25.