MP wants answers over 999 shake-up

MP Andrew Percy.

MP Andrew Percy.

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ISLE MP Andrew Percy has demanded answers over plans to close dozens of ambulance stations which have sparked concerns that lives may be put at risk.

East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) plans to close the majority of the 66 stations across the area, including those in Scunthorpe and Gainsborough, to replace them with 13 hub bases.

But it has already admitted it has revised its plans following comments from residents.

The nearest hub to Epworth and Crowle would be around 22 miles away in Elsham, which has prompted fears about longer response times.

Mr Percy said: “I have met with the ambulance service and asked for details of rotas and how many incidents crews could be attending to get a better ideas of how the plans will affect the area.

“What is important is response times. I’m interested in making sure response times are met and improved on. I will wait until I get further information before passing judgement.”

Mr Percy’s comments come after Epworth Town Council also asked for more information after expressing concerns about response times.

EMAS has a target to reach 75 per cent of all life threatening calls within eight minutes. This target will remain the same, but the service hopes the new set up will help it reach calls even sooner.

EMAS also plans to have 118 community ambulance posts (CAP) and stand-by points across the area. The nearest ones to the Epworth and Crowle would all be at least around eight miles away in Brumby, Crosby, Gainsborough and Scawby.

As part of the changes, a ‘tier of management’ jobs are also at risk, EMAS has said.

The service has received 87 responses from Lincolnshire residents to a public consultation, which runs until December 17.

A Clinical Care Group public meeting takes place at the Health Place in Brigg on Thursday, November 29, from 2.30pm.

Phil Milligan, chief executive of EMAS, said: “We are already looking at the suggestions received and have developed our initial proposed ideas. Our thinking now includes the potential of revised local arrangements with colleagues including reduced driving time to the hubs, but more than this we are also exploring the addition of more hubs/super stations.”

EMAS Board members will meet in January to consider the scheme.

Visit www.emas.nhs.uk to view the consultation document.