Outdated ambulance stations could be given multi-million pound makeover
Out-of-date ambulance stations could get a multi-million pound revamp to help paramedics get on the road to life-saving emergencies quicker.
However while praising the move, one MP has said the £38.1million funding bid is not the only answer - and urged members of the public to only call on ambulances when they are really needed.
The East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) is looking to modernise the buildings in Ipswich, Barton Mills, Bury St Edmunds, Colchester, Harlow and Basildon, as well as in Cambridgeshire and Norfolk.
It has bid for £38.1million of government funds for the overhaul, which would provide increased space for repairing ambulances as well as more space for staff rest, welfare and training areas.
The revamp would take place during 2020/21 if the bid is successful.
Wayne Bartlett-Syree, EEAST’s director of sustainability and transformation, said: “Importantly, if we were successful, we would be able to have staff rest, welfare, training and development facilities all in one place to support our hardworking crews.
“The bid provides for a two-acre site with a 1,200sq m building to accommodate ambulance crews and vehicles.
“Each site would have an improved vehicle maintenance workshop and an area to wash and restock ambulances and cars.
“We are expecting to hear at the end of the year if our bid has been accepted. If we do not get it, we will continue to enact this plan to put in new buildings, however it will be at a much slower pace.”
Ipswich MP Sandy Martin said: “Clearly this will be a major improvement if the bid is successful.
“I’ve been out with the ambulance service and seen what the conditions are and what they have to deal with. An improved base would enable them to be more effective and efficient - and that has to be a good thing.
“It’s not the only answer - we also need a better out-of-hours service. We need it to be as efficient and effective as possible and make sure people are not using ambulances when they don’t need to.”
Ed Garratt, chief officer for Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) - which is in charge of commissioning healthcare in the area - said: “We have supported this bid as we know that improved facilities will directly support better patient care.
“It will mean crews can get back onto the road as quickly as possible and boost crews welfare – which has a direct link to patient care too.”