‘More people will die’ under 999 hub plans

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An ambulance paramedic claims “lives will be lost and people will suffer” when ambulance stations in Spalding, Bourne and Holbeach close.

Speaking to the Spalding Guardian, the 999 worker – who wished to stay anonymous for fear his “days in the ambulance service would be numbered” for speaking out – said changes planned by East Midlands Ambulance Service are just a money-saving exercise.

He said: “This is a way of saving money quickly, but in the long run it is going to cost the NHS a small fortune when they have to buy back and set up new ambulance stations because of the outcry when people are dying and suffering unnecessarily.”

Last week the board of the ambulance trust announced it was to close many of its 66 stations and replace them with nine hubs, 19 ambulance stations and 108 community posts.

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

Community ambulance posts would be at Surfleet, Holbeach and Spalding – which is likely to be a shared facility, possibly based at the fire station.

The ambulance worker’s fears that people will die as a result of the changes is echoed by Sutton Bridge councillor Chris Brewis, who has previously highlighted a number of cases where people have waited hours for an emergency ambulance to arrive.

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.

“The ambulance service is not fit for purpose and it is about time Lincolnshire had its own.”

But East Midlands Ambulance Service’s chief executive Phil Milligan claims it will improve 999 response times.