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Plans for ambulance 'super station' in Lincolnshire criticised by watchdog

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: November 16, 2012

Lacking detail: A health watchdog says Emas's public consultation over plans to close 13 stations and open five super stations lacked detail

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A public consultation on plans to close ambulance stations across the county has been slated by a local heath watchdog.

The 'Being the Best' consultation document by East Midlands Ambulance Service has been criticised for lacking detail.

And meetings to discuss the paper have been poorly attended, according to members of Lincolnshire County Council's health scrutiny committee.

Now Emas is planning to hold one more public meeting to discuss its proposals.

Earlier this year, the health trust revealed how it planned to shut 13 stations in Lincolnshire and open five 'super stations', backed up by remote ambulance crews placed at strategic standby points.

Nine public meetings were held across the county to discuss the plans in October.

This week, Christine Talbot, chairman for the health scrutiny committee meeting at Lincolnshire County Council, said: "Emas needs to consult again and publicise it far better because there were such poor attendances county wide.

"How can a proper consultation be carried out if there is nobody to consult with?"

"We are totally dissatisfied by how the consultation has been run in Lincolnshire.

"It's an estate strategy and all about buildings.

"They say they want to be the best but there is no evidence they know how to get there."

In 2011, Emas responded to 72 per cent of life-threatening category A calls and 83 per cent of serious category B calls in Lincolnshire - against targets of 75 per cent and 95 per cent respectively.

"Emas needs to go through the process again," added Mrs Talbot, who has previously called for Lincolnshire to have its own ambulance service.

"They cannot ignore the feedback and criticism they have received and just go ahead with their plans.

"They have been failing for a long time now and the most frustrating thing is that, in their documents, they have not mentioned how they are going to improve response times in our county. It is not the buildings and stations that are an issue, it is the people lying on the pavement who are waiting ages for an ambulance to come and get them."

Councillor Martin Trollope- Bellew said: "Emas seems to be blowing around like a leaf in a thunderstorm - they have no idea where they are going."

Councillor Mark Smith added: "Emas has deliberately been evasive and didn't publicise the meetings very well because they were worried what people would say.

"My concern is they know more then they have shared."

In light of the health and scrutiny committee meeting on Wednesday, November 14, Emas will hold another public meeting at The Corn Exchange, Abbey Road, Bourne on Monday, November 26. It will start at 7pm. Emas chief executive Phil Milligan said: "During 2011 and 2012 we received more than 166,940 emergency calls from Lincolnshire people and so they, together with their family and friends, will have a view on what works well in our service and which areas need improvement.

"The feedback we have received is invaluable to our consultation process and we urge people to take this opportunity to have a say on the future of their ambulance service.

"However, we appreciate that public meetings are not for everyone and so if people cannot or do not want to attend a meeting, they can have their say by completing the online feedback form, by calling or emailing Emas."

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  • Whiley45  |  November 17 2012, 10:49AM

    We the Public must put our trust in Christine Talbot to stop our Ambulance service becoming a poor shadow of what it once was. We need our own County service back again and quickly before too many people die at the hands of the Accountants whose only concern is balancing the books.

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  • Pete67  |  November 17 2012, 10:07AM

    golfhandicap - You put about the need to consult. Half of the time there have been consultations they seem to be on questionnaires designed to confuse, and even if that obstacle is overcome they usually just do what they were going to, to start with. The people in charge always seem to get away with it by being a law unto themselves with total disregard to the people they are supposed to serve.

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  • golfhandicap  |  November 16 2012, 2:40PM

    i fully suppor the actions of our local councillors. EMAS need to consult again on these proposals and consult properly this time. What they have done so far is just provide information on what they are wanting to do not how they will improve and then consult on what changes are needed to improve. The CEO has no idea about the service delivery to the public and judging by his approach to this consultation he and his executive team has no percpetion about the public feeling regarding these changes. The staff don't trust him, the public have no confidence in him or his team but he must listen to the scrutiny committee.

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