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A councillor has said plans to remove Burntwood’s ambulance standby point without consultation are “unacceptable”.
The move – which is due to be implemented from April 1 – will mean the nearest ambulance point is on Eastern Avenue in Lichfield.
Labour’s Cllr Sue Woodward has now demanded an urgent meeting with Anthony Marsh, Chief Executive of the West Midlands Ambulance Service, and Cllr Johnny McMahon, Chair of Health Scrutiny at Staffordshire County Council.
Cllr Woodward said the news of the changes had come asa shock.:
“This came as a bolt out of the blue,” she said. “Local residents were not informed and nor were the Health Scrutiny Committee or Cabinet Member for social care and health at Staffordshire County Council.
“It seems to me that they tried to close this standby point on the quiet to avoid any outcry but they have an obligation to consult.”
In a letter to Mr Marsh, Cllr Woodward said she was concerned that the changes could impact on the ambulance service’s ability to reach a ‘Category 1’ call – such as a cardiac arrest – within seven-and-a-half minutes.
Cllr Woodward’s letter says:
I write with great concern that the ambulance standby point in Burntwood is to close on March 31, leaving the nearest ambulance point serving our town of some 28,000 residents at the hub in Eastern Ave, Lichfield.
This has been done by stealth with no notification to my knowledge of this service change to either the Health Scrutiny Committee at Staffordshire County Council or its partner committee at Lichfield District Council. It also follows the closures of the standby point at Five Ways, Heath Hayes, Delta Way in Cannock and Keys Park in Hednesford to the detriment of the service to my electors.
Can you tell me with some urgency please:
How will WMAS meet its Category 1 response time, which I believe to be 7.5 minutes?
Why has this not been reported, as required in legislation, to the relevant local authorities?
Cllr Woodward added: “It’s simply unacceptable to act in this high-handed and secretive way and I shall need the firmest of assurances that response times for our town will be maintained.”
Cllr Woodward confirmed that she and Cllr McMahon will be meeting Mr Marsh to discuss the issue further on April 4.
West Midlands Ambulance Service has been approached for comment.