By Ian Dipple 21/05 Updated: 24/05 14:47
WEST Midlands Ambulance Service Trust has moved to reassure residents over plans, which could see one of Bromsgrove's two ambulance stations go up for sale.
Bosses at the trust insist the introduction of the Make Ready Scheme across Worcestershire, which will overhaul the ambulance service, will increase paramedic cover across the district.
And they say that if the Bromsgrove station, by The Harvester, did go up for sale, residents should not be alarmed as it would be replaced with a more cost-effective base.
A spokesperson said: "It will be replaced with something new that will be cheaper for us to run, which means we can put the money saved into the frontline ambulance service, because that is what saves lives."
Bromsgrove had just one ambulance station up until August 2010 when a site on the Sanders Road Industrial Estate was acquired to ensure there was a base at either end of the town. The Sanders Road Industrial Estate one, because it is cost-effective already, will remain and the decision on whether the ambulance station near The Harvester will go up for sale will be taken in the next three months. If sold, it will be replaced with one that side of town.
The Make Ready scheme will see the creation of a centralised 24/7 hub at a site in Worcester, where a dedicated team of staff will prepare and service ambulances. That willl free up the amount of time paramedics are off the road cleaning or re-stocking vehicles.
Ambulances will be collected and returned to the Worcester-based hub at the end of each shift.
As part of the changes the trust is also introducing a Community Paramedic Team. They will be based in cars stocked with everything an ambulance will have - apart from a stretcher - and will be manned by a fully qualified paramedic who will have extra training allowing them to carry out assessments and minor treatments, such as glueing a head wound, on site avoiding the need to take someone to hospital. They will also be able to work with GPs and district nurses to ensure appropriate after care is provided.
The scheme is set to be introduced by the end of March next year and is in response to increasing demand against a backdrop of cuts in public spending.
A Trust spokesman said: "This is a root and branch change to the way we run the service, but rather than downgrading the service it is quite the opposite.
"We are upgrading, providing more cover and increasing the quality of the cover when we get there.
"We will be spending less on estates and more on frontline cover."
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