Ambulance bosses 'surprised' after fire service offers help over station closures

Fire stations are being offered as 'rest stops' for ambulance crews after confirmation of plans to close four community stations.

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service has said ambulance crews could use its stations for rest stops
Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service has said ambulance crews could use its stations for rest stops

West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) will close Oswestry, Bridgnorth, Craven Arms and Market Drayton community ambulance stations from next week.

Crews previously based at the stations will instead start and end their shifts at one of the two hubs in Shrewsbury and Donnington.

The decision has provoked concern from local councillors, with Shropshire Council writing to WMAS asking for it to reconsider, although the ambulance trust says the move will have no impact on its services.

Now Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service has said it is offering the use of its fire stations in the county for ambulance workers while on shift – for "rest stops" or "alternative venues for standdown periods".

But WMAS has questioned how the system would work and said the comments from the fire service had come as a "surprise".

A statement from Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service said: "All of our fire stations will be available for ambulance staff to use as rest stops or as alternative venues for stand down periods should they need them."

Eric Carter, Chair of Shropshire and Wrekin Fire Authority added: "We are delighted to be offering the hand of friendship to our emergency service colleagues in order to help them sustain their welfare through their working hours.

"This is not a property-sharing agreement in the formal sense, and our stations are not serving as the replacement for the now decommissioned ambulance stations. However, having access to our facilities will give the ambulance staff an additional welfare if necessary whilst they are on duty.

"It is a central part of our service delivery to support our partners in any way we can and we’re happy to be able to show our support to our colleagues in the ambulance service in this way."

In response a spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service said: "This press release came as a surprise to us, as there is currently no agreement in place with Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service for ambulance crews to use their facilities.

"Information in the press release is also incorrect, as we have not introduced a new operational model and the four CAS sites in the county have not yet closed.

"Our crews rarely, if ever, get time between jobs so we aren’t actually sure how this offer would work in practice.

"Even if there was an agreement to use their premises, there has been no work between operational colleagues so we have no information as to how our crews would access their retained stations."

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News