Rugby councillors agree to set up special meeting to discuss WMAS plan to remove St Cross ambulance

Councillors are set to ask someone from WMAS to come and explain their decision

Rugby Town Hall, where the meeting was held.
Rugby Town Hall, where the meeting was held.

Rugby councillors are set to summon a representative from the ambulance service to come to town and explain why they plan to remove the town’s last ambulance.

The plan to relocate the last ambulance based at St Cross to Rugby has prompted public outcry – on Monday, September 13, the issue was raised during the council’s scrutiny committee meeting – with councillors agreeing to set up a meeting dedicated to the issue.

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A date has not yet been set for the meeting – although councillors agreed that something must be done urgently because it is believed the ambulance will be removed in October.

During the meeting those councillors who spoke were unanimous in their concerns over the plan – and through the discussion they reached an agreement whereby great effort would be made to ensure that councillors work together to gather as much information as possible before speaking with the West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS).

Cllr Maggie O’Rourke said: “I’ve received several emails - which I’m sure other people have - over the last couple of weeks, and I have done over the years, about their experience in terms of wait times for ambulances. We really need to pin this down, we need to get it right, we need to get the information right.

“I’ve looked at stuff online and it seems to me that all the targets are very much ‘the national picture’, ‘the West Midlands’ - and little old Rugby doesn’t really feature very highly in that, from what I can see.

“I do feel that it’s almost like we’re getting into this scenario of ‘how can we get the best response times with what we’ve got? We’ll put them all in the area of a city’.

“The fact is that Rugby isn’t a village, it’s not even a little town, it’s going fast towards being a city. It’s a big place.

“I know we all feel the same, I know we’re all really upset to hear this could happen.”

Cllr Tom Mahoney said: "My background is health and safety and I was an Army Combat Medic, so I've got some idea of how these things work.

"Not the organisation but the day-to-day stuff.

"My focus would be on the ambulance service to start with, because that's an immediate decision.

"[We need to] Understand, with no pre-conceived ideas, what the thinking was behind it and how they justify it.

"I also believe that there's a piece of work to be done on emergency healthcare provision in the borough.

"There's a lot of misunderstanding of what's available, what's not available and where they can get help.

Cllr Jerry Roodhouse, who previously called on elements of the county council to question the ambulance service over the plan, said that Rugby council should not wait for the county council to get involved – but it should urgently send a letter to the ambulance service and request their attendance at a special meeting.

Chairman of the committee, Cllr Peter Eccleston added: “Having waited seven hours for an ambulance a couple of weeks ago, I can assure you it’s a pressing issue.”