Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Pick n Mix - Fire Station Closures, Ambulance Hubs not opening and Corn Buntings

Here we go again.

This was the opening line on a Facebook group set up to help save the ambulance stations within the High Peak area. It refers to Derbyshire Fire & Rescue closing various stations including those in the High Peak. The BBC reported this at the end of September you can see the article here. The fire stations in New Mills (where East Midlands Ambulance Service base their ambulance and 4x4 response car, so where are they going to go) is to close along with Chapel-en-le-Frith, Whaley Bridge and Hathersage stations. Glossop station will be downgraded to a retained station. Buxton station will relocate somewhere in the area.

New Fire stations will be opening in Furness Vale & Bamford.

The absurd thing about the Buxton fire station is that it only opened down Staden Lane 2 years ago in October 2011 costing £3.5 million. The nickname for the site within the fire service was Tracey Island. As it was supposed to be able to operate the various emergency services out of it should the need arise.See what the local paper the Buxton Advertiser says here.

Various comments in cyber space have noted that these public consultations seem to have a pre-determined outcome (see the Being the Best sham regrading the local ambulance service). That they are merely a tick box exercise. We of course wait and see. I hope we'll all get a rebate on our council tax for all these services that we are loosing. There will I think be some political fall out from this. The people of the High Peak are getting repeatedly annoyed it seems at the resources in their area being axed. Or moved to other areas, like when they were proposing to close both Buxton & New Mills ambulance stations and move them to junction 29A on the M1 over Chesterfield as this would, according to the Being the Best consultation,  improve response times. Which as we all know is a completely potty idea. I can't imagine who in EMAS said that was 'okay' to release publicly. Totally nuts.Where that political fallout will land will be interesting.

You could argue that we have better fire safety now, we have smoke alarms, sprinkler systems, we're no longer filling settees and easy chairs with toxic foam. But the fire brigade don't just fight fires. The service is called Fire & RESCUE service. They do more than get cats out of trees. They rescue people from water, ice, trapped in buildings, stranded on hillsides (it's not just mountain rescue), in car accidents. They deal with prevention as well, monitoring carbon monoxide in flats as well as fire safety. And if you were unfortunate enough to have a house fire and found yourself trapped, it wouldn't be the police or ambulance you would call it would be the fire and rescue service. With the removal of stations in the High Peak and particularly the Hope Valley, I can only see their response times to an incident increasing. You may have a better chance of survival if you open your windows and shout for Superman.

When is an ambulance hub not a hub but a station?

Last week the Buxton Advertiser noted that there will be a delay in the building of a High Peak hub for our ambulance service. I couldn't find a link to the article online, not sure why the Advertiser hasn't posted one. However, after the Being the Best consultation we the residents of the High Peak were assured that the High Peak would retain an ambulance station. Here's what the Advertiser reported back in March this year. How this got upgraded to a hub I don't know. EMAS have different 'levels' of station.
1. Hubs which are more or less all singing and dancing with mechanics, supply crews , where all you have to do is jump on your ambulance and go.
2. An ambulance station where you have everything except mechanics & supply crews. The ambulance has to be maintained by the ambulance crew which is how the ambulance station operate now anyway.
3. Community ambulance stations, these will be port-a-cabins based in certain areas where ambulance crews can be positioned. Or as a friend or a friend of a friend told me a standby point where you park your ambulance. It won't be port-a-cabins all round. Which we have anyway, you may have seen the ambulance crews parked up at the bottom of Fairfield road in Buxton or Long Hill in Whaley Bridge.

EMAS only promised an ambulance station not a hub. Will this mean more funding from the CCG? Check out the North Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group website for more information. Just click on the High Peak locality.

Anyway hub or station we're not going to get one now until 2017 due to finance. If they were looking at basing some of their standby points at the fire stations I guess they're going to have to think again.

East Midlands Ambulance Service reported yesterday that they have a new interim chief executive a Ms Sue Noyles. She will replace Jon Sargeant, who replaced Phillip Milligan earlier this year (that's three chief executives, is this a poisoned chalice?) Anyway Ms Noyles has a proven track record of getting the best out of people. I hope Ms Noyles displays the practical common sense that seems to be lacking so far in the management of East Midlands Ambulance Service and shy away from the buzz word babble of spin that seems to have accompanied it. Which would enable us to have a better ambulance service with crews that weren't fighting their own fatigue from being run ragged due to lack of cover, available to respond when needed.

I wish Ms Noyles the very best of luck and hope she is the breath or fresh air and common sense that we need in this matter. 

They were Corn Buntings

As you will know dear reader I have been trying to identify some finch like birds in the Goyt Valley that I had seen. In fact it was starting to bug me a little. The other day I was back down there and bumped into a chap who knew his birds. I asked him if he could tell me what they were and he confirmed that they were corn buntings. He'd been down watching for the short eared owl that can sometimes be seen down there.
I also noted there was a flock of swallows still in Peak Dale. I went back twice this week and saw on Sunday 29th September there were around 10 still fluttering around. I went back yesterday the 1st October and there were none. So I guess that they are heading back to Africa.

Not so much Ramblings from the High Peak as Moanings, I'll try and keep it a bit more up beat next time.

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