The Ambulance Service in both Glossopdale and the High Peak is under threat, the East Midlands Ambulance Service due to the cuts and the North West Ambulance Service because of the ‘privatisation’ agenda of the current Government.
Although on the face of it, the East Midlands Ambulance Service changes won’t affect folk in Glossopdale as our local service is provided by the North West Ambulance Service in reality it could have a huge knock on effect as ambulances from the NWAS provide additional cover, and given with current resources there have been occasions when it has taken up to hour for an ambulance to reach Glossop, stretching that service further may not be the best thing.
If you’ve not heard the EMAS plan, it is that they want to close the majority of its 66 ambulance stations across the East Midlands, including Buxton and New Mills and then replace them by 13 hubs or super stations, where all ambulances and their crews will start and end their shifts, along with a network of tactical deployment points to replace the existing standby points.
The nearest hub to High Peak would be at junction 29 of the M1, on the other side of Chesterfield, which even on a good day, can be at least an hour’s drive away depending on where in the High Peak it needed to reach.
I understand from colleagues who have had a chance to discussion the concerns that there is an acceptance that changes are needed and with a £13 million maintenance backlog of existing station some may need to close, but are the super hubs the right step ? Or would it be better to consider seeing if there is space with other local emergency services, to see if savings could be made that way
As I understand neither the North West Ambulance Service nor local hospitals were aware of the EMAS plans until the consultation went live meaning that any concerns essentially from where the ambulances ‘end up’ won’t have been considered prior to plans going public and will essentially just be considered along with responses to the public.
The proposals in full, can be viewed on the ‘being the best consultation’ section of the EMAS website by clicking here
In addition EMAS will also be holding public meetings in the High Peak on the 6th November (from 6.30pm till 7.30pm in the Octagon) in Buxton and 16th November (from 7pm till 8.30pm in the Large Hall, New Mills Town Hall) in New Mills.
There are two petitions been run against these proposals, one by Caitlin Bisknell is specifically aimed at the High Peak and you can sign that by clicking here and the other by the GMB in the East Midlands by clicking here
In terms of the North West Ambulance Service, the contract for non-urgent patient transport service is up for tender, and the preferred bidder is currently the ARRIVA Bus Company, based purely on cost as the in-house service performed better on quality. The concerns raised by Unison and various others is that this move is going to affect the service as the private company starts to try and make profit by cutting corners. The service is provided currently by 375 staff directly employed by the NHS. The service provides non-urgent transport to and from hospital appointments for those with real medical needs. North West Ambulance Service undertakes over 2.3 million journeys every year.
UNISON along with the local community has launched a campaign to stop the privatisation of the patient transport service (PTS) within Greater Manchester. Unison believes this is the first step towards the wholesale privatisation of our NHS and that it and others must campaign to stop it.
The campaign has a launch event on Monday (1th October) at 7.00pm in Manchester Town Hall.