Ambulance bosses promise 999 service will improve, despite Grimsby and Louth closures
THE number of paramedics attending 999 calls will rise, despite some roles being cut to create a more "streamlined" service.
Ambulance bosses – including East Midlands Ambulance Service's operational support manager Steve Pratten – are reassuring patients following the announcement of proposals to reshape the service.
Under current plans, both Grimsby's ambulance station, in Gilbey Way, and Louth's station, in Windsor Road, would close.
In addition, one level of management is also set to go, which Mr Pratten has revealed will include his role.
As reported, EMAS has proposed to close many of its stations which it claims "are empty most of the time".
Instead it plans to create 13 new "hubs" acting as garages or a base for paramedics across the East Midlands – Grimsby's nearest hub will be in Elsham.
Alongside this, 131 standby points would be created – one located in each of Grimsby, Cleethorpes and Louth to provide frontline services with hot drinks and toilets when waiting for calls to come in.
Within the proposals, it is stated that "one level of management will go, but we do not anticipate that there will be any redundancies for our paramedic team leaders.
"However, while we will do our best to place all staff affected in the organisation, there is a possibility that we may not be able to do this for some staff in higher bands."
For Mr Pratten, his position will cease to exist, after working in it for the past six years.
Although he says his future is unpredictable at the moment, he wants to reassure the public that these changes are for the best to improve patient care.
He said: "I will still be working within the service but what role I would take on has not been confirmed.
"None of this should be looked on as negative, the whole aim of these changes is to increase the number of frontline staff, improve our response times and improve patient care.
"Bosses are aiming to take out a top-heavy management structure and get us out responding to more calls."
Despite Mr Pratten's positive outlook, members of the public have their concerns over the plans.
At a recent meeting of East Lindsey District Council's Louth Area Committee, a presentation was given over the proposed changes and there was a chance for questions to be put to Mr Pratten and representatives of EMAS including Richard Henderson, assistant director of operation, Gary Spier, estate general manager and Lynn Rutland, service delivery manager.
Many were centred around the risk of delayed response times, the increased travel time staff will incur to get to the new hubs and particularly the distance the hubs are away from Louth and Grimsby.
Mr Pratten said: "Senior management are currently holding public consultations across the East Midlands until Monday, December 17.
"These questions are vital as they will feed into the final plans and could change what is currently proposed.
"A final plan will be drawn up to go in front of the EMAS trust board in January."
On Thursday, October 18, a public consultation will take place at the Memorial Hall, Grimsby Road, Cleethorpes, at 1pm. Representatives from EMAS will deliver a short presentation followed by time for people to ask questions.
Keep checking your Grimsby Telegraph for any updates.