Meeting urges Ambulance Station to be kept in Hinckley
Plans by the East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) to close Hinckley Ambulance Station along with 65 others in the East Midlands and replace them with 13 hubs, the nearest to Hinckley being based in Leicester, were criticised by many people at the meeting.
The head of EMAS, Phil Milligan, attended the meeting to put EMAS case for the changes.
Cllr Michael Mullaney (Lib Dem: Hinckley Trinity) who helped organise the meeting, put the case for an Ambulance Station or a "Hub" to be based in Hinckley. At the meeting Michael Mullaney said "When Emas held a meeting in Leicester recently it was reported in the press that only two people turned up, well there are far more than two people at this meeting today and this just reflects how much concern there is in the Hinckley area about EMAS plans.
"EMAS assert that the changes will improve response times. Isn't it the case though, as the Unions have said, that the consequence of these changes will be to improve response times in the immediate area around the hub at the expense of response times at places further away from the hubs, like here in Hinckley and Bosworth.
"Under EMAS plans Hinckley and Bosworth's ambulances will begin and end their shifts from Leicester's hub. What is to stop the ambulance for this area being diverted at the beginning of its shift to calls in Leicester? This will probably have the effect of improving response times for EMAS around the hub but at the expense of longer waiting times in our area.
"When health professionals say making these changes will improve response times then of course we have to listen, and if the health profession were united on these changes then it wouldn't be my place to question them. However, there is no unity in the health world in favour of these plans.
"Many of the staff at EMAS oppose these plans, some may not want to say it openly, but the leadership of EMAS must know how much opposition there is to this from many staff and surely that should make you rethink. Unions representing ambulance staff have opposed the changes and the online Number 10 petition running across the East Midlands against the plans were set up by unions representing staff.
"The Hinckley urban area covering Burbage, Barwell and Earl Shilton is one of the biggest population concentrations in the county, even before you begin to add nearby villages to Hinckley such as Stoke Golding, Higham on the Hill and Stapleton. It is clear a population of this size needs an ambulance based here full time.
"We believe that the ambulance station should be based in Hinckley, if because of EMAS plans that is not possible, the very least we would ask is that, because of this big population and because of the distance from Hinckley to Leicester, that if there is to be a hub system then one of those Hubs should be based in Hinckley. Ensuring that the big and growing population here, has the ambulance cover it needs."