Concerns over ambulance plans to be considered

East Midlands Ambulance Service is undergoing a shake-up in a bid to improve response times
East Midlands Ambulance Service is undergoing a shake-up in a bid to improve response times
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A full review could be carried out after concerns were raised about plans to close dozens of ambulance stations.

Lincolnshire’s Health Scrutiny Committee asked the Secretary of State for Health to get involved amid fears East Midlands Ambulance Service’s plans to replace 66 ambulance stations with just 13 “hubs” would compromise patient safety and result in poorer response times.

It said the ambulance trust had failed to properly consult with its members about the Being the Best proposals.

It has taken eight weeks, but the committee has now been informed Jeremy Hunt has referred its concerns to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP), which will make an initial assessment.

It could decide to recommend a full review is carried out or that the issue is resolved locally.

It is due to submit its initial assessment advice to the Secretary of State by June 28.

Coun Christine Talbot, chairman of the health scrutiny committee, said: “The committe have had concerns over the performance of EMAS for a long time, and this referral was made as we didn’t feel they had carried out adequate consultation.

“EMAS has been fined for the third year running for failing to meet response times and we have no confidence that closing ambulance stations will improve this situation in Lincolnshire.

“I am pleased the IRP will now be looking into our concerns.”