Paramedic’s fears over closure plans

Fleetwood Ambulance Station
Fleetwood Ambulance Station

AMBULANCE bosses in Lancashire insist the possible closure of Fleetwood and Thornton stations would not jeopardise any aspect of the service – or put lives at risk.

No firm plans have been made to close either station but that is one option being considered by the county service in 2013.

As part of NHS Trust proposals to reorganise the service in Lancashire and save funds, one option would be for Blackpool to become a hub from which the Fylde coast paramedics would operate.

That would mean the closure of the buildings at Fleetwood and Thornton, but staff would still have a presence in the town from community deployment points or “spokes” located elsewhere in the communities, such as the police or fire stations.

Lancashire Ambulance Service says while this would save money on bricks and mortar, no staff would be laid off and ambulances would still be available in the community.

But the Weekly News has been contacted by one paramedic based at the Fleetwood’s station, a single-storey site on Broadway, who says he and colleagues are worried about the plans. The employee, who says he cannot give his name for fear of breaching contract, fears lives will be put at risk.

He said: “I have been a paramedic in Fleetwood for 20 years and was told of the closure in a meeting with management at Blackpool station.

“I do not agree with the plans. We are a very busy station serving the Fleetwood community and all the station staff realise that many a life young or old actually could be lost due to the travelling time from Blackpool. This cannot be allowed to happen. I want to make the residents in Fleetwood and Thornton aware of what is in the pipeline. People’s lives will be affected.”

However, a spokesperson for the North West Ambulance Service insisted the fears were unfounded and said: “The Patient Transport Service (PTS) vehicles, would also be relocated but would still provide the same service to the area.

“Ambulances are on the road for the majority of their shifts which means for most of the time, stations are vacant. Once a patient has been taken to hospital, the vehicle will usually be despatched straight to the next patient and will rarely return to station except for a rest break, restocking or cleaning. When someone dials 999, it is not always an ambulance from their local station which attends, but the nearest available ambulance.”e