When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Ambulance stations in East Lancashire at risk of closure
2:00pm Wednesday 23rd October 2013 in News
AMBULANCE stations across East Lancashire are at risk of closure as part of a cost-saving review.
North West Ambulance Service(NWAS) has launched a review of all 109 bases in the region, saying many are in a poor condition and cost too much to maintain.
Bosses will look to share premises already used by other NHS or emergency services, such as Darwen Fire Station or Rossendale Health Centre.
Three new ‘hubs’ are proposed, with three bigger, modern facilities in Merseyside, Blackpool and North East Manchester.
But union bosses have criticised the move, saying it would be ‘like selling off the crown jewels’.
NWAS said paramedic crews were often on the road for the majority of their shift, or parked in strategic spots, so insisted response times and patient care would not be affected.
The stations provide a base for crews, can be used for vehicle maintenance, and usually have a kitchen, toilets, mess room and garage.
Craig Wilde, branch secretary for the Unison office at NWAS, said: “We don’t see the logic of selling your own property then leasing somewhere else.
“This would be like selling off the crown jewels and you can only do that once. The problem with the hub and spoke model is vehicles tend to rarely get to the small bases because they get allocated to a job before they get anywhere near them.”
He said crews had been so ‘overstretched and overworked’ recently that they rarely had a chance to use stations, and feared their sale would result in current conditions continuing.
Those at risk of possible closure and sell-off include Broad Oak Road, Accrington; Burnley Road, Altham; George Street West, Blackburn; Trafalgar Street, Burnley; Princess Avenue, Clitheroe; George Street, Darwen; Rakehouse Road, Nelson and Commercial Street, Stacksteads.
In a briefing document to councils, NWAS said its estates portfolio costs around £1.8m a year to maintain.
The report adds: “We intend to reinvest any funds from station sales back into the frontline which ultimately benefits the taxpayer – our patients.”
Comments are closed on this article.