Rugby MP demands answers over plans to remove the last ambulance based at St Cross

Mr Pawsey called on the trust to ask the public what they think

Mr Pawsey, file image.
Mr Pawsey, file image.

Rugby MP Mark Paswey is quizzing the West Midlands ambulance chief over a controversial plan to remove the last ambulance based at Rugby's St Cross.

The Advertiser has been contacted by several people who expressed serious concerns over the plan to remove the ambulance on October 1.

When asked if the decision would cost lives - one source said - 'people will die'.

A spokesperson for West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) denied the claims that the move will impact on patient safety - you can read the full story by clicking here.

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We contacted Rugby MP Mark Pawsey - who also has grave concerns with the plan.

In response, Mr Pawsey revealed he has been demanding answers from the WMAS chief, and he shared the most recent letter he sent to the chief with us.

Here is the letter in full:

Further to my previous correspondence of 25 August 2021 and your response of 2 September 2021, I remain very concerned at the prospect of the closure of Rugby Community Ambulance Station.

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Having had the opportunity to consider the proposals, I would be grateful for your response to the following points and questions.

1) Level of demand

I appreciate that there has been exceptionally high demand on ambulance services across the country, exacerbated by handover delays at hospitals. However, as the pandemic recedes and hospitals return to being able to operate at full capacity, it is likely that demand will fall, as will the time lost in handover, and I would therefore be concerned at basing any long term decision on the circumstances of the previous 18 months.

You have also noted that staff go from case to case non-stop and rarely if ever return to the station apart from shift changeovers and meal breaks, but may I ask for clarity on the data for this assertion and whether this was the case before the pandemic?

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2) Waiting times for Rugby residents

You have also stated that in the first six months of this year, ambulances were operating in Rugby ‘around 24,000 times’. However, the briefing note from your Director of Communications notes that there were 47,972 cases, so may I clarify whether the conclusion I should draw from this is that on half of the occasions an ambulance was requested, one was not available in Rugby?

May I also ask for annual statistics over the previous five years on the length of time that Rugby residents are waiting from first calling 999 to an ambulance attending in cases where an ambulance was required, and the length of time it is taking for them to reach a hospital site from the time of their initial call?

3) Cost of maintaining Rugby Community Ambulance Station

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The trust has also suggested that the closure would release money for further ambulances and more staff, so I would be grateful for details of the current annual cost of maintaining Rugby Community Ambulance Station.

4) Public and staff consultation

I would also like to know what consultation has been undertaken with staff and to what extent their views are being considered as part of the review, given that the briefing note I have

received from WMAS suggests that staff affected will be informed of the outcome rather than being involved in the process of review. I would further point out that as per the NHS constitution ‘the NHS is accountable to the public, communities and patients that it serves’, and that on this basis, the public should also be consulted before any decision to close Rugby Community Ambulance Station.

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5) Alterations to work practices to maintain Rugby Community Ambulance Station

The current review of sites does not appear to have considered whether the Rugby site could be used in a different way to currently. For example, you have explained some of the challenges of starting and finishing shifts at smaller sites rather than at main hubs, but it is unclear why they cannot continue to be used for meal breaks and comfort breaks, or why they would not prove useful in the future during times of lower demand.

Please note I intend to share your correspondence with my constituents, and that all correspondence regarding my constituents is handled by my constituency office in Rugby. As such, please may I ask that you reply to my constituency address and include my office reference in your reply.

I shall await your response in due course.