Meeting tonight on Long Sutton’s ‘fire ambulance’

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A new ‘fire ambulance’ will be stationed in Long Sutton from July as part of a £491,000 trial that will cut patient journey times to hospital and boost their chances of survival.

The joint project between Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue and East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) will be unveiled at a public consultation today at 7pm at Long Sutton Fire Station.

Long Sutton fire crews already attend medical emergencies as part of the EMAS/LIVES co-responders scheme.

But the Joint Ambulance Conveyance Project will see firefighters mobilised in an ambulance while an EMAS paramedic attends in a fast-response car.

If the patient needs to go to hospital, fire crews will drive the ambulance while the paramedic travels with the patient providing any necessary medical treatment en route.

The Suttons, particularly Sutton Bridge, have suffered a catalogue of long waits for ambulances – in 2012 the EMAS service was branded a disgrace by Sutton Bridge parish councillor David Dewsberry after a man died following a three-hour wait for an ambulance and Coun Dewsberry’s cousin, Frieda Minns, was left waiting almost six hours for an ambulance to turn up.

News of the trial was welcomed by Long Sutton parish councillor Jack Tyrrell, who said: “It’s a major plus for Long Sutton people. It will be brilliant for us.”

A joint report by the fire service and EMAS says the project will give patients more timely treatment, “supporting better recovery and improving chances of survival”.

Firefighters will have additional clinical and driver training in June before the fire ambulance goes operational.

The pilot will also run from Stamford and Woodhall Spa fire stations.