We need rapid ambulance response

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The front-page story in the Midhurst & Petworth Observer regarding a reorganisation in the SECAmb facilities over this area does raise a number or worrying issues.

The lack of consultation seems to be a regular feature for those living north of the downs in West Sussex.

The front-line ambulance staff have already been denigrated to ‘second-class’ – ask any member of the public to name an emergency service and the response would be ‘Police, Fire and Ambulance’.

It might come as a bit of a shock but in fact the ambulance service is not included as an emergency service and its members will still be lifting patients from road accidents when the first responders are at retirement age, unlike firemen and policemen.

Any ‘response post’ would have to be more than a spot on a lay-by. Facilities for hygiene and eating would have to be provided – after all, currently the ambulance staff work 12-hour shifts.

It may well be the ‘super stations’ (which are obviously planned for establishment at the major area hospitals) will prove to be a good idea, but the Midhurst and Petworth area is a funny old place – frequently cut off on the two roads up from Chichester by weather and accidents.

It would be a disaster if vehicles had to be regularly dispatched from the Guildford area to provide cover.

Much more information and consultation is needed and in the first instance a chat with SECAmb’s own front-line staff might be a good idea.

David Cole,