Public meeting to call for the Welshpool Air Ambulance base to be kept

The future of the air ambulance service in Mid Wales will be under the spotlight at a public meeting in Newtown on Friday.

Public meeting to call for the Welshpool Air Ambulance base to be kept

Thousands of people have signed a petition objecting to plans to re-configure the Wales Air Ambulance.

The charity is looking at proposals which would see its base in Welshpool Airport close and the helicopter and rapid response vehicles moved from Mid Wales to join the North Wales team, which itself would probably move from Caernarfon.

There are also two bases in South Wales.

Powys county councillor for Newtown, Joy Jones, said she feared that the loss of the air ambulance from Welshpool could have tragic consequences.

"It is a really frightening thought that we could lose our Welshpool base. With a longer travel time, not just for the air ambulance but also the rapid response vehicles, it could potentially lead to a loss of life," she said.

"The rapid response vehicles have become really essential to this area, particularly with the problem of a shortage of ambulances."

Among those attending the public meeting at the Monty Club at 7pm, will be the Montgomeryshire member of the Welsh Senedd, Russell George, and local councillors.

The Air Ambulance Charitable Trust has also been invited to send representatives.

A statement from the trust says that it could attend over 500 more lifesaving missions across Wales every year, including more in Powys, in a re-configuration of its service.

Having two helicopters at one base would mean that it could offer the airborne service between 8am and 2am every day.

Spokesperson, Steven Stokes, said analysis looking at the most efficient use of the service’s existing resources showed that with a reconfiguration of base locations and medical shift patterns, improvements could be made.

"Wales Air Ambulance could attend up to 583 additional missions every year, 26 of those in Powys. Wales Air Ambulance could meet 85 per cent of the demand for its service in Powys - currently we are meeting 79 per cent."

More than 15,000 people have signed a petition objecting to the closure of the Welshpool base, with both an online and paper petition. There will be the chance to sign the petition at Friday's meeting.

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