Grandad in and out of hospital

GOOD SERVICE: Jack Tyrrell says the ambulance service is good now but he fears for the future. SG030413-111TW
GOOD SERVICE: Jack Tyrrell says the ambulance service is good now but he fears for the future. SG030413-111TW

A pensioner with a heart condition has had 40 blue light ambulance rides to hospital in a little over two-and-a-half years.

Jack Tyrrell (76) spoke out in praise of the under-fire East Midlands Ambulance Service, the country’s worst for response times, but also voiced fears the service will be worse when EMAS axes traditional ambulance stations and switches to a “hubs and spokes” model.

Mr Tyrrell, of Fulney Drove, Spalding, said: “Back in July 2010, I had chest pains and I couldn’t breathe and the wife rang 999.

“Within no time at all the ambulance was here and that has been going on for the last two-and-a-half years.

“I must have had 40 ambulances, usually two a month, and there’s only once when we waited something like 20 minutes for one.

“Normally they were here before I got off the phone to the 999.

“There’s nothing wrong with the system but there will be now,”

EMAS plans to shut ambulance stations in Spalding, Bourne and Holbeach.

The nearest ambulance station to Spalding will be at Market Deeping, with hubs at Boston and Grantham where ambulances will have to return for cleaning and maintenance.

The new way of working will also see community ambulance posts at Spalding, Surfleet and Holbeach.

Mr Tyrrell said: “I hope that when they get this other system going that the people who have organised this will want the first ambulances – and they ought to be an hour late for them.”

An ambulance paramedic spoke anonymously to The Spalding Guardian last week about the changes to the system, saying he fears more people will die.

He said: “People are already dying in the Long Sutton and Sutton Bridge area because they are having to wait so long for an ambulance.

“This will just make it worse – more people will certainly die.”