Search

Ambulance station shake-up prompts fears lives could be put at risk in North Norfolk

Town councillor David Russell outside the Cromer ambulance station. Pictures: David Bale

Town councillor David Russell outside the Cromer ambulance station. Pictures: David Bale

Archant

Fears have been voiced that a shake-up of the ambulance service could put lives at risk in North Norfolk.

Cromer ambulance station is under threat. Pictures: David Bale Cromer ambulance station is under threat. Pictures: David Bale

David Russell spoke out after the East of England Ambulance Service Trust announced proposals to introduce a new hub and spoke model, centred in King’s Lynn, Norwich and Great Yarmouth.

But questions have been raised over what that could mean for the future of stations at Cromer, North Walsham, Fakenham and Potter Heigham.

Ambulance chiefs insist there are no planned station closures.

Councillor Russell, a member of Cromer Town Council, said: “A lack of ambulance cover and longer response times could potentially put lives at risk.”

The councillor has called a meeting with North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb in an effort to save the station in Cromer which employs 36 people and opened in 1992 amid fears it could mean patients in rural areas have to wait even longer for an ambulance in an emergency.

He has also asked for the issue to be discussed at the next meeting of Cromer Town Council in North Lodge on Monday, July 24.

Councillor Russell said: “This is urgent. We are concerned that the town council has not been consulted on this, and neither have members of the public.

“We are worried about the effect this will have on people in Cromer. This is not being patient-led, and I don’t think it would save any money. How on earth are the ambulance services going to get out here? It’s 25 miles from Norwich and about 45 miles from both King’s Lynn and Great Yarmouth. This station should stay as it plays a key role in north Norfolk.”

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust said it had to save money.

Chief Executive Robert Morton said: “It is important to recognise that the public do not access services through trust estate facilities which are about services for staff and fleet. Were we proposing to change our service delivery to patients then, of course, we would consult with the public.” But he added: “The CCGs (clinical commissioning groups) expect the trust to bring our non-pay costs into line with comparable ambulance trusts.”

An ambulance spokesman said: “There are no planned station closures.”

An ambulance spokesman added: “We are planning a £42m capital investment over the next five years to bring our estates into the 21st century. It is looking at how we are going to develop a better estate and facilities for our staff, and one that is more cost effective. This is not a closure programme and any suggestion to the contrary is incorrect.

“This is about making the most of our estate and working with partners to share more facilities and buildings to help increase our presence in the local community, especially in rural areas.

“Currently EEAST spends the most percentage of its non-pay spend on our estate out of any ambulance service in England.

“This means that we are spending more on our estate than we should be and we could deliver a better service to our staff from implementing a modern estate with make ready facilities. The existing estate does not support the requirements of a modern ambulance service. A final set of proposals are being drawn up around where the remainder of the 18 depots will be located and the supporting network of community ambulance stations and shared facilities. This will improve staff access to line managers and enable EEAST to develop better health and wellbeing facilities which we can’t do on our existing estate.

“Building on the success of our approach to establishing large hub locations in Stevenage, Chelmsford, Gorleston, Norwich, Peterborough, Southend and Hemel Hempstead, we will be working closely with our staff to make sure that future developments deliver the same effective results that we have been seen to date.”

Other news

The chief executive of the region’s mental health trust is urging patients to put their trust in her as the organisation tries to improve.

17:02

A leading trade retailer is set to open the doors to its first store in Fakenham, creating eleven new jobs in the area.

Fire towers, wind turbines and street lights could be offered up to mobile phone companies to fill in the “not-spot” gaps in 4G coverage across Norfolk.

Thousands of pounds worth of solar panels have been stolen from land in Langham.

Most Read

12:36

A Norfolk housing organisation is urging residents in Wells to return survey forms by the end of January so that they can gain a greater understanding of the town’s affordable housing needs.

Read more
Norman Lamb

Thousands of pounds worth of solar panels have been stolen from land in Langham.

Read more
17:02

A leading trade retailer is set to open the doors to its first store in Fakenham, creating eleven new jobs in the area.

Read more

A mother who gave up work to look after her suicidal son and slept on his bedroom floor to keep him safe has praised a charity telephone line for its support.

Read more
Thursday, September 3, 2015

Police say they will never close their investigation into what happened to a Fakenham schoolboy who disappeared more than 40 years ago.

Read more
Norfolk police

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 7°C

min temp: 5°C

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Fakenham and Wells Times e-edition today
E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter