Losing ambulance stations would be a bitter blow to staff and communities, civic leaders say

Ambulance stations across Shropshire could be closed under plans being considered by the service.

Councillor Roy Aldcroft
Councillor Roy Aldcroft

News that the bases in Bridgnorth, Market Drayton, Oswestry and Craven Arms, could go would, civic leaders say, be a blow to patients and staff alike.

They say Shropshire needs better ambulance provision, not the axing of provision.

West Midlands Ambulance Service announced the review of 10 ambulance stations including the four in Shropshire, saying it needed to make sure it was making the best of all of its resources.

The service has been under huge pressure over recent months as it has struggled to cope with a record number of 999 calls.

But the axing of stations is not the way forward say local councillors.

The Mayor of Market Drayton, Councillor Roy Aldcroft, was, until his retirement in 1992, the senior operations officer for the then Shropshire Ambulance Service.

He says it is vital that paramedics and ambulance staff have a base and says that crew welfare is hugely important.

“The ambulance service is the busiest of the emergency services and crews can deal with around 10 seriously ill or injured people in a shift.

“Ambulances are not designed for sitting in during an eight to 10-hour shift,” he said.

“They certainly aren’t designed for eating in and of course there are no toilet facilities. In rural areas like ours it is not easy to find somewhere to get food or a toilet in the middle of a night shift for example.

“The ambulance station provides somewhere to sit down, have a drink if only for 10 minutes or so between jobs, to catch up on how the last job went and get some brief respite.”

Councillor Aldcroft said any reduction in the service would not be in the public interest.

“This is not a metropolitan area and emergency services are already stretched. Rural areas like Woore and Norton-in-Hales will often have to wait longer than the agreed national response times for ambulances anyway.

“We have both the A41 and the A53, both major trunk roads with high accident records and on the other side of the coin we have a growing elderly population that needs the ambulance service. They tell us time is of the essence and yet that time is being stretch to breaking point.”

Dr Julia Buckley a Bridgnorth councillor said she was deeply concerned for the safety and the sanity of the ambulance crews.

"Their base in Faraday Drive is not big but it is somewhere where they can have a break, get a drink and get away from their vehicle. "

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