AFINAL decision on whether or not Hucknall’s ambulance station is to close in favour of two ‘standby points’ has been deferred until the end of March.
The future of the Annesley Road station - one of 12 of Nottinghamshire’s 13 stations earmarked for closure by the East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) - was set to be determined at a board meeting at the end of this month.
But, following formal consultations with staff and the public, EMAS has delayed its decision until 25th March whilst it considers alternative options.
EMAS communications manager Phil Morris said: “It’s encouraging that so many people across the region feel so passionately about the ambulance service and have been able to have their say in shaping the proposals to improve response times and patient care.
“As a direct result of the feedback from the consultations, we are now looking at alternative options which will allow us to meet our ‘Being the Best’ ambitions. We will be carrying out futher analysis to make sure the final proposals work both operationally and financially.”
The proposed closes would see axed stations replaced by just two ‘super-stations’ - one in the centre of Nottingham and the other on the present King’s Mill Hospital site at Sutton - with ambulances stationed at 22 stand-by points, where they would wait for calls to come in.
Ashfield District Council’s deputy leader John Wilmott says he backs local folk ‘to the hilt’ in their rejection of the proposed closures, and is relieved that alternative options are being explored.
He said: “There’s a very strong public opionion that these closures just shouldn’t happen. We’ve been campaigning against the proposals from the beginning in the hope that the ambulance service re-think the whole strategy.
“These stations form an important part of the NHS and there’s much unease regarding the alternative service which would be provided.”