Station closures one step nearer

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The loss of ambulance stations in Brackley and Towcester will be part of a ‘better package in the long run’, according to a member of Northants County Council.

Next month East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) will decide if it is going to scrap 53 ambulance stations around the county, including stations at Brackley Library in Manor Road and the police station in Watling Street, Towcester.

EMAS are proposing the stations are replaced by 131 ‘tactical deployment points’ saving millions of pounds on a costly maintenance programme, and helping the service to meet response time targets.

There will also be two or three hubs in different parts of the county which would contain facilities for crews and vehicle maintenance.

A consultation on the ‘Being the Best’ reforms closed last month, and a meeting on January 10 will discuss its results before the EMAS board of trustees makes a decision at the end of January.

Gina Ogden, Northants County councillor for Weedon and Woodford, who sits on the council’s health scrutiny committee said: “There were also discussions about the fire and ambulance services sharing facilities. There’s a fire station at Woodford Halse, but it’s very underused, so there is a question whether the facilities are right.

“But ambulance crews will be well looked after with better changing rooms and kitchens at the hubs. It looks to me a better package in the long run.”

In July Jonathan Fox, spokesman for the Association of Professional Ambulance Personnel, said they welcomed plans for a more efficient service but questioned whether enough consideration was given to the welfare of crews.