WMAS maintains that removing last ambulance stationed in Rugby is safe - here's their full statement

WMAS does not appear to be reconsidering their plans

File image. Getty.
File image. Getty.

The West Midlands Ambulance Service has set out its case for removing the last ambulance stationed at St Cross.

Following a huge public reaction to the news, the Advertiser approached WMAS and asked if they would now reconsider the plan.

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There was no direct answer on this, but a spokesperson sent a further statement summarising their reasoning behind moving the ambulance to Coventry.

On the basis that you, the public, deserve to see both cases in as much detail as possible, here is there full response below.

You can also click here to see an outline of the position of those who disagree.

Here is the WMAS statement in full: "In regards to Cllr Roodhouse’s comments, it clearly isn’t a ‘substantial variation in service’ as per the Health and Social Care Act as currently you dial 999 and an ambulance is sent and after the beginning of October you will continue to dial 999 and an ambulance will be sent.

"The same number of ambulances will be available in the area and the ambulance based in Rugby only does 3.4% of the cases in the area. This change is simply about where one of perhaps 50 ambulances starts and finishes its shift - the service will not change, except for the better.

"While money is not the driving factor here, clearly there is the opportunity to take money which is currently spent on buildings and instead use it on frontline services. While there is the cost of rent, the overall cost is not as simple as that.

"In addition to the rent, there is the cost of having a manager drive over to the CAS each day to carry out legally required checks on drugs and so on. But the real cost is in the time lost due to inefficiencies of the system.

"When a crew comes on duty at a Hub, they come to a vehicle that is cleaned, fuelled and has a standard load list.

"At a CAS, they take over from the previous crew with a vehicle that has been used for half a shift.

"Because of this, we lose lots of ambulance time: the crew have to check their vehicle so that they know what’s on it; they have to return to the Hub to swap over their vehicle at some point during their shift.

"We also have an agreement with staffside that means crews have to return to their base station.

"With the CAS sites, this means that they have a 25 minute drive back to those after coming clear at hospital - effectively two to three hours of time that could be used to respond to patients that now can’t be, every 24 hours.

"I would add that this does not include time lost due to handover delays which delays the crew arriving back at the CAS site which means we lose more time because the on-coming crew are unable to start their shift.

"When you take this lost time over the ten sites, we believe that we could respond to between 5,000 and 6,000 additional call outs without any additional cost.

"As you are aware, we are duty bound to try and run the most efficient and effective ambulance service with the funding that we are provided.

"Losing this amount of time each day is clearly not doing so. The ultimate question is, should we leave matters as they are when we know we could make improvements to patient care?

"We are being accused of putting lives at risk by closing the CAS points, yet morally I think it would be hard to defend not making the change because to not do so definitely does put lives at risk.

"Many locally have suggested relocating to an alternative locations, but even if it was free from a rent perspective there is still the operational cost that would be required and, much more importantly, the continued inefficiency which as I mentioned above, does put lives at risk.

"It cannot make sense to waste money on any facility that is seldom used - precious resources need to be spent on the things that save lives - staff and ambulances not buildings."