Rugby councillors: has the closure of the ambulance station at St Cross left people waiting longer for emergency help?

Rugby councillors are calling for a review over the impact of the closure of the town’s last ambulance station as residents voice their concerns over ambulance waiting times.

File image, Getty.
File image, Getty.

In September last year West Midlands Ambulance Service closed Rugby’s last ambulance station – which had been based at St Cross.

A source told the Advertiser they believed the closure would cause preventable deaths.

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A spokesperson for WMAS strongly denied this claim – stating that there would always be ambulances in the Rugby area.

Thousands of residents signed a petition calling for the station to remain open and councillors raised the issue in meetings.

The issue of waiting times was on the minds of many again when, on April 2, and elderly woman lay injured in the street for hours as she waited for an ambulance.

The ambulance service apologised for the delays – and said it is long hospital handover times which are to blame.

Shortly after, Overslade councillor Glenda Allanach told this newspaper she was preparing a draft motion to come before Rugby council.

Should the motion be approved, it would see calls for an investigation into whether the closure of the ambulance station at St Cross has worsened waiting times.

Cllr Allanach’s draft motion – which may be altered slightly in its final form, reads: “Following the recent distressingly-long wait for an ambulance which was suffered by a lady who had an accident on Lytham Road, it is clear that further action is required to ensure national guidelines on ambulance waiting times are met.

"Since August 2019 the average response time of the West Midlands Ambulance Service to the most serious incidents has worsened by over a minute, while the average response time for a Category 2 incident (a serious condition, such as a stroke or chest pain, which may require rapid assessment and/or urgent transport) has almost trebled from 12 minutes to 33 minutes.

"However, there is a growing number of people waiting more than an hour for an ambulance response.

"Therefore the council requests that its leader writes to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to request him to direct the West Midlands Ambulance Service to review its recent decision to close Rugby’s ambulance station.”

Fellow Overslade councillor Bill Lewis is set to second the motion.