Call for Isle 999 ambulance base

Andrew Percy MP
Andrew Percy MP

HEALTH chiefs are being urged to consider having an ambulance base in the Isle of Axholme.

East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) is proposing to close most of the region’s 66 ambulance stations as part of a shake-up of the organisation.

These could be replaced with 13 hub stations and 118 Community Ambulance Posts (CAP).

However, initial plans proposed no hub or CAP would be based in the Isle.

EMAS is now reconsidering its plans following public concerns over the potential effect on response times.

Isle MP Andrew Percy, Epworth Town Council and Axholme Central ward councillor David Robinson are now urging EMAS bosses to consider having an Isle ambulance base, which may allow crews to respond to local incidents quicker.

Mr Percy, a member of the House of Commons Health Select Committee, said: “It appears EMAS didn’t think the plans best suited the way forward and I expect them to announce a number of changes to their initial plans.

“What is important is where the ambulances are going to be setting off from, not the ambulance stations themselves. Buildings don’t save lives but paramedics in ambulances on the road do.

“However I have had meetings with EMAS and asked them to think about having a CAP in the Isle and to say what benefits that would bring. We need to know how beneficial the CAPs are going to be for the Isle.”

Don Stewart, chairman of Epworth Town Council, added that he is considering writing a letter to EMAS asking for a CAP in Epworth.

He said: “Epworth is in the heart of the Isle of Axholme and would be an ideal place for a CAP.

“I will put it to our next council meeting in February and if councillors support the idea then I’ll be writing to EMAS asking for this.

“The ambulance service do a great job but its important to consider all options.”

Coun David Robinson said: “In light of the number of people living in the Isle of Axholme, having an ambulance base in the Isle would bring peace of mind to all of us.”

EMAS’s initial ‘Being the Best’ proposal involved shutting the two ambulance stations closest to the Isle at Scunthorpe and Gainsbrough. The closest hub to Epworth would be around 22 miles away in Elsham.

The nearest CAPs to the Isle would be around eight miles away in Brumby, Crosby, Gainsborough and Scawby.

EMAS is currently looking at “additional options” in its planned reorganisation. Revised proposals are due to go before the EMAS trust board on March 25.

Nobody from EMAS was available for comment.