East Midlands Ambulance Service have finally published their proposals for changes to their ambulance station structure in their 'Being the Best' public consultation. New EMAS proposals can be downloaded here.
I have been watching this from afar and was present at the meeting on Pavillion Gardens in Buxton when the Chief Executive fielded questions from the public. I was at the back as usual keeping a low profile. People were not happy and to be honest you could see why. The changes would have left the High Peak without an ambulance station currently in Buxton and New Mills. They were going to remove these and base everything in Chesterfield the rumour was near Junction 29 on the M1. Needless to say there were plenty of objections and with the Peakland weather the way it is one can see why. Seen mainly as cuts cunningly disguised as efficiency savings. However it looks that High Peak will get an ambulance station. Whether it will be manned with the same amount of vehicles and staff will be another question I guess.
Various petitions in the form of e-petitions, personal ones on peoples websites and the good old signatures in the street were submitted. According to High Peak Radio 870 people from the High Peak wrote to EMAS of which 12 thought the changes were a good idea and the remainder 858 thought not and objected. Also half the population of New Mills and Hayfield signed a paper petition to save their station which is based at the retained fire station in New Mills. A Facebook group was set up which quite quickly gained pace Save High Peak Ambulance Stations with nearly 3000 members.
Not just the locals objected, a strong objection from Andrew Bingham MP Andrew Bingham's website as well as Derbyshire County Council and the more local High Peak Borough Council. Caitlin Bisknell leader of the High Peak council has this to say about the latest proposals Caitlin's Blog. Across the political spectrum councillors and MP's from throughout the East Midlands have objected to the changes. As well as the soon to be disbanded PCT's, GP's and other medics who see the changes as absurd. No doubt the local paper will have some information in it as well this coming Thursday.
One Unison person told Sea Duck that EMAS really hadn't expected the amount of objection from various sectors throughout the East Midlands and were amazed at the degree of opposition.
I do hope that the EMAS executive have got their sensible heads on when it comes to deciding this matter and not get hung up on hitting targets rather than meeting the needs of the people they serve. It's not about hitting targets it's about caring for the patients. We get the final answer Monday 25th March 2013.