Fears ambulance changes leave Louth ‘in the lurch’

Fears were raised by councillors that controversial plans to revamp East Midlands Ambulance Service and close Louth's ambulance station were leaving local residents 'in the lurch'.
Fears were raised by councillors that controversial plans to revamp East Midlands Ambulance Service and close Louth's ambulance station were leaving local residents 'in the lurch'.

Fears were raised by councillors that controversial plans to revamp East Midlands Ambulance Service and close Louth’s ambulance station were leaving local residents ‘in the lurch’.

Speaking at Tuesday night’s Louth Town Council meeting, during the public forum, Coun Laura Stephenson said she felt EMAS’ proposals left residents hanging on for a decision.

The proposals to radically change the ambulance service includes replacing the region’s 66 ambulance stations with 13 large ‘hubs’, the nearest being Skegness.

Louth resident Jackie Featherstone, a campaigner against the closure of Louth’s station on the industrial estate, hit back at fears her campaign had run out of steam.

“We seem to have given up,” said Coun George Horton.

Jackie Featherstone told the room that that was not the case, and that she was still fighting hard for answers from EMAS.

“I’d like to get 6,000 signatures on the petition but we need to draw a line under it, we’ll have to settle for the 3,000 (signatures) that we’ve got.”

“The present site on the industrial estate is an ideal spot, you can get straight onto the A16 and into the town centre.”

Mrs Featherstone said she understood EMAS were looking at creating a community ambulance point, where paramedics would be able to have breaks and cleaning facilities, near the Cattle Market in Louth, but this is yet to be confirmed.

Coun Trevor Marris, also spoke against the proposals. “Louth is so central, I can’t see the sense in moving it (the ambulance station), I don’t want to see ambulance stations sat empty.”

Mayor of Louth, Coun Jill Makinson-Sanders, questioned why EMAS had left just a month between the end of the consultation and the expected decision.

“I don’t see how they can go through the consultations for the whole of Lincolnshire in just a couple of working weeks,” she said.

The consultation over the proposals comes to an end on December 17, with a decision expected in January.

Look out for more stories from Tuesday’s meeting on our website and in the Leader next week.