Plea made for Lincolnshire to have its own ambulance service

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LINCOLNSHIRE needs its own ambulance service if lives are not to be lost because paramedics are taking too long to attend emergencies.

A leading councillor has written to the Secretary of State calling for the return to a Lincolnshire-only ambulance service after more than six years of poor response times.

The county is currently served by East Midlands Ambulance Service, which has the poorest record in the whole country for meeting targets for the time it takes for an ambulance to arrive.

Figures reveal only 84 per cent of incidents in Lincolnshire are attended by a double-crewed ambulance within the 19-minute target – 11 per cent shy of the 95 per cent national target.

Last week, EMAS revealed plans to close most of its ambulance stations across the region in a bid to cut costs and improve response times.

The service’s board was due to meet yesterday to discuss the proposals, which could see ambulances “waiting” at hotspots around the county while stations such as Spalding could close.

The newly-built station only opened three years ago as part of the new £25m Johnson Community Hospital in Pinchbeck Road.

Lincolnshire County Council’s chairman of the health scrutiny committee Coun Christine Talbot has said she will be keeping a very close eye on what happens.

She said: “It remains to be seen whether the move to close ambulance stations improves response times.

“However, ambulances have for some time been parked in local hotspots awaiting calls, so in essence this is nothing new.

“The bottom line is that there have not been any improvements in response times in Lincolnshire since July 2006 and there comes a time when people say ‘enough is enough’.

“That time with EMAS is now, and I’ve therefore written to the Secretary of State on behalf of Lincolnshire residents, stressing the need for a return to our own, dedicated ambulance service.

“A lot of the taxpayers’ money from our county goes into supporting EMAS and they are not currently getting their money’s worth.

“We deserve better.”