Pressure grows on ambulance revamp proposals

Campaigners Jackie Featherstone and Trevor Marris hand over their petition at EMAS' Nottingham HQ.
Campaigners Jackie Featherstone and Trevor Marris hand over their petition at EMAS' Nottingham HQ.

East Midlands Ambulance Service are facing growing pressure to re-think their controversial plans to radically revamp the local cover.

This week Lincolnshire County Council, East Lindsey District Council and Louth Town Council have all raised deep concerns over EMAS’ plans and have urged them to reconsider.

Consultations ended on Monday on the plans which include the closure of Louth Ambulance Station, along with 54 others in favour of 12 large hubs, the nearest at Skegness, as well as 131 roadside ‘community ambulance posts’.

ELDC said it was ‘very anxious’ and predicted a detrimental impact on response times while Louth Town Council’s response said the consultation was ‘very poor’ and spoke of ‘grave concerns’ over the plan.

At last week’s town council, Coun Laura Stephenson said the plans left Louth ‘in the lurch’ and Coun Margaret Ottway branded them ‘disgraceful’.

The county council said it had ‘no confidence in the way EMAS is currently managed in Lincolnshire’ and called the consultation questions ‘self-serving’ and ‘not designed to elicit geniune improvements’.

EMAS also face criticism from Mayor of Louth, Coun Jill Makinson-Sanders, who has questioned why EMAS have left just a month, including Christmas, between the end of the consultation and the decision date.

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

On Monday campaigner Jackie Featherstone, along with Coun Trevor Marris, went to EMAS HQ in Nottingham to hand in a 3,033-name petition to keep Louth’s station open.

Mrs Featherstone, a former nurse, said: “I feel quite positive, we did well to get so many signatures and I feel I’ve gone about this the right way.

“It’s hard to tell if EMAS are listening but I’m passionate about this, so the campaign isn’t over from my point of view.”

EMAS this week confirmed that their plans for a deployment point in Louth centre within a quarter-mile radius of the Upgate and South Street junction, possibly the cattle market, but insist no final decisions have been made.