LETTER: Clarifications over ambulances ‘cuts’

RE YOUR article ‘Grave misgivings’ voiced over ambulance cuts plan, in the Midhurst and Petworth Observer of August 7 – there are a number of points the piece did not address.

The article carried a number of questions from members of Midhurst Town Council, but did not carry any significant details of the ambulance service’s presentation or answers to councillors’ questions.

It’s wrong for you to use the word ‘cuts’ in your headline.

There will be no reduction in staff numbers as a result of these changes – in fact we are actively recruiting paramedics who will serve the area and our plans will also create additional jobs for staff at the new Make Ready Centre we hope to develop in Tangmere.

The centre along with the introduction of strategically-placed response posts surrounding it will help ensure that our clinicians are in the right place to respond to patient demand and allow them to do the job they are trained to do – treat patients.

This is a system which is already in operation in Kent and parts of East Sussex.

Traditionally ambulance crews have been responsible for cleaning and restocking ambulances before and after shifts.

This system sees specialist teams employed to clean, restock and maintain vehicles.

We are committed to providing the people of Midhurst with the service they expect and deserve.

While staff currently based at Midhurst will begin and end their shifts at the new centre, during their shift they will respond from the network of response posts. It’s expected that posts will be found in towns currently served by ambulance stations.

In addition, it’s likely that the number of response posts serving the area will outweigh the number of stations we currently have – as has proved the case elsewhere in our region.

It may be decided, again as has been the case elsewhere, that response posts will be set up on the same site as current ambulance stations.

The response posts will be smaller as we will not require as much storage as the Make Ready Centre will provide this.

The service we provide to Midhurst will also be protected with shift start times staggered to ensure there is a not a period between shifts where ambulances are only making their way to or from response posts from the centre.

We have been very open about our plans and hope to, with the help of the Observer, continue to explain their importance to local people.

Lorna Stuart,

Paramedic and senior operations manager

South East Coast

Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust