Well I have had a look at the information provided by East Midlands Ambulance Service, obviously it covers the whole of the East Midlands, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Leciestershire, Rutland and Northamptonshire. The bit I'm interested in is the High Peak area of Derbyshire and there is a not so skillfully placed blob on one of the maps noting a High Peak ambulance station. It appears to have been positioned in the 'pin the tail on the donkey' method of highlighting a location. It does note that there will be community ambulance stations in Buxton, Chapel-en-le-Frith and New Mills. Whaley Bridge was mentioned in the 1st proposals instead of New Mills, but it would appear EMAS have amended their positioning of these community ambulance stations.
Before get too happy at these 'community ambulance stations' being located in places that did not have an ambulance station present like Chapel-en-le-Frith a community ambulance station is a standby point. While driving through the High Peak I have seen the ambulances on standby at the Bridgemont roundabout on the A6 as well as the Chapel roundabout near the Fallow Deer pub. As well as at the bottom of Fairfield Road in Buxton, in the car park where the ROSPA chaps hang out and on Long Hill the A5004 between Buxton & Whaley Bridge. These 'community ambulance posts' already exist in the form of laybys around the High Peak area.
The thing that interests and concerns me is that it doesn't, and I'll admit I may have missed it in the 80+ pages of facts and figures, the amount of vehicles we would have. Currently we have three ambulances and a 4x4 car running out of Buxton, and another ambulance and 4x4 car running out of New Mills. If they assume a vehicle at each 'community ambulance point' that would halve the number of vehicles we currently have? Surely that wouldn't improve any response times in the High Peak?
Other issues of note is that the nearest ambulance station to us outside of the High Peak is Bakewell and that is moving to Matlock! So if we need back up in the High Peak it won't becoming from Bakewell as it's disappearing, if the report is to be believed in early April 2013.
Also the paramedics that retire appear to be replaced by ECA's (emergency care assistants), EMAS are no longer using EMT's (emergency medical technicians) . An ECA is someone who can help the paramedic and drive the ambulance. Whereas a EMT can do the same but has also more training and can treat a patient themselves. Most paramedics did several years as an EMT before progressing to paramedic. My feelings is if a paramedic and ECA arrive at a car crash they can treat only one patient (in theory), if a paramedic and EMT arrive then they can treat two. Something pointed out by John Mann MP John Manns concerns posted by the BBC something that the ambulance service in Yorkshire is prepared to strike over Strike action by ambulance staff in Yorkshire.
Protests are still going on across Derbyshire, focused on the Amber Valley where the proposals have left a gaping hole regarding cover Amber Valley Council
I agree with EMAS on one point that something needs to be done, they are the worst performing ambulance service in the country, however the staff appear to be under so much pressure that they are reaching breaking point Ambulance staff off with stress.
As I have said before I hope EMAS prioritise the care of patients and staff over hitting targets.