Ambulance station closures will allow service 'to answer thousands more calls'

The decision to shut four rural Community Ambulance Stations could see the ambulance crews attend up to 6,000 more calls per year, according to ambulance bosses.

West Midlands Ambulance Service has defended its decision to close the stations
West Midlands Ambulance Service has defended its decision to close the stations

At a meeting on Thursday, councillors said they did not believe ambulances would be able to respond just as quickly to emergencies if they were being sent from further away.

Council leaders say they will write to the ambulance service opposing the decision, and local MPs to see if they can take the issue to Health Secretary Sajid Javid,

Petitions to save the individual hubs have also been launched, while a public meeting will be held next week in Oswestry.

However, information from WMAS says that the closure of the hubs will enable crews to improve by reaching several thousand more calls, rather than fewer.

Data from the ambulance service for ambulance calls for the first six months of this year state that ambulances based at the four sites rarely respond to calls in that area. Emergency calls go to the nearest available vehicle at that time, regardless of its base.

For example, the Bridgnorth area had a total of 27,152 calls, but just over one thousand of these were attended by the Bridgnorth-based ambulance - a little over four per cent.

According to WMAS it is a similar story in Market Drayton and Craven Arms. Oswestry's ambulance attended the most calls in its own area, but this total was still only 5.7 per cent.

The service also sought to allay any fears that calls to rural areas would take a back seat to ones nearer to the hubs in towns, saying that calls are dealt with based on severity and the time they are placed.

Under the proposals, ambulance crews will start and end their shifts at one of the two ambulance hubs in Shrewsbury and Donnington.

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