The Ambulance Re-organisation Consultation

by Leon Duveen on 30 October, 2012

Firstly, I should apologise, I should have already written a post about the Consultation meeting with Phil Milligan, Chief Exec of EMAS,  that was held on Friday 19th October by now but with a number of other activities I am involved with, I didn’t manage to get round to doing it till now.

The meeting was better run than the earlier consolation meeting and Mr Milligan was a far better advocate for the proposals.  At least this time, Mr Milligan was allowed to make his presentation without continual interruptions from members & supporters of the Labour Party.  He made it clear that, regardless of what some are saying,  what is being proposed is not a cut in the service and that there will be the same number of ambulances available in Bassetlaw under the new scheme as there are now.  He also stressed that the consultation is not a sham and the plan is open to changes depending on what is suggested at meeting and through people sending in there comments

As you will know be reading my earlier post on the subject, my main concern is not where ambulances park when not in use but how quickly they can respond to an emergency.  On this, Mr Milligan had some good news, in September an emergency vehicle got to a life threatening incident in Bassetlaw within the target 8 minutes in 67% of all such incidents.  This is better than the 61% that was managed in the first 6 months of the year.   I have asked Mr Milligan to continue to send me the statistics so we can monitor the response times and see if the improvement continues and get closer (or even better) the Government target for the region of 75% .

There were some other good points made, I repeated the comment made by Cllr Greaves at the previous meeting that the proposed hub at Kings Mill was too far away from Bassetlaw and it would be better in or near Bassetlaw (my suggestion is somewhere near Markham Moor or Tuxford be a better site) and Mr. Milligan seemed open to considering any such ideas.  I also pointed out that the Community Ambulance Points will need to have proper facilities, available 24 hours, for staff to take breaks.   Others from some of the smaller towns & villages in the north of the District pointed out that ambulances from Retford & Worksop already take too long to reach places like Misterton and they would like more vehicles stationed in nearer by.

It was only when some of the audience started to say that they were opposed to any change did the mood of the meeting change.  Rather than engage with EMAS, these people (mostly from the Labour party & the Unions) seem more concerned with making political points, giving misleading information and scaremongering than making constructive suggestions as to how to improve the ambulance service.   It was instructive that when I had a quiet conversation with one ambulance crew member after the meeting (away from Labour Councillor & Union reps), we were able to agree that having a hub closer than at Kings Mill, with stand-by points around the district would be acceptable and give the local base

I would like to make one final point.  The consultation has not been very well organised and the managers at EMAS have much to learn in this area.  However, if they had employed a PR firm to run the consultation for them, they would have face criticism over the costs involved for that.   In the end, those running the consultation are NHS managers, not PR specialists, and have a bit more understanding of the efforts they are putting in.

Whatever the outcome of the consultation is, if we keep ambulance stations in Worksop & Retford or have a hub & standby points, the only measure of success for the Ambulance Service is having the vehicles respond to incidents quickly.  I will continue to monitor the response time statistics and share those details through this site.

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