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From The Socialist newspaper, 27 February 2013

East Midlands Ambulance Service

Why 'Being the Best' puts lives at risk

A consultation report on plans for the East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) was published on 7 January 2013.

EMAS based its so-called 'Being the Best' plan on a report commissioned from private company Process Evolution (PE).

The report advised that EMAS should close its 66 stations and implement a new model consisting of 33 hubs and standby points.

However, EMAS decided 33 was too many and culled 20 more stations leaving it with a proposed 13 hub model.

Opposition

The report has been slated as a 'sham' which did not listen to the concerns of staff and the public. Over 55,000 people signed Unison's petitions, hundreds marched and many attended public meetings.

Unison has pointed out that the plan would mean more travelling for staff to work and more travelling for ambulances to respond to emergency calls.

For example, without a station in the High Peak of Derbyshire, the nearest hub would be over an hour's drive away! This would result in more volunteer community responders, with only a few hours of training, holding the fort while waiting for a paramedic to arrive.

Politicians' 'support'

Labour, Tory and Lib Dem councillors and MPs have used the opportunity to build their standing in their local community by voicing opposition to the plans.

None, however, are willing to link the station closures with cuts or privatisation in the NHS (in 2012 EMAS lost its Patient Transport Service contracts to Arriva and NSL).

On 25 March 2013, EMAS will present four options to the Board of Executives: 1) do nothing, 2) adopt the 13 hub proposal, 3) adopt a 27 hub model and 4) recruit more staff and have more vehicles.

On Wednesday 20 March at 7pm, EMAS is to present its proposal to Amber Valley councillors at a scrutiny meeting.

Unison is preparing for a further demonstration outside the town hall to make it clear that closing ambulance stations in Amber Valley will cost lives.

The battle to save our ambulance stations has a long way to go. Throughout the country ambulance trusts are drawing up plans to cull our ambulance stations.

Campaigners must fight for ambulance services to be fully funded by the NHS, the reversal of all privatisation and investment to ensure good staffing levels and quality care for all patients.

We need a national trade union-led demonstration as a first step in a mass campaign to fight for these things and to save our NHS.

An ambulance worker

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In The Socialist 27 February 2013:


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Socialist Party Scotland conference


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45 years since the Ford Dagenham strike: women workers still fighting for decent pay


Readers' comments

Should socialists support GM foods?

A busy day in the life of a 'shirker'


 

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