New 999 hubs will be glorified Portakabins

HIGH Peak MP Andrew Bingham has slammed controversial plans to close ambulance stations in the High Peak and said paramedics could soon be working from “Portakabins”.

East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) are currently consulting on plans to replace their 66 ambulance stations with 13 hubs under their Being the Best Review.

But the proposals, which would see ambulance crews being based at either hubs, tactical deployment points, Community Ambulance Posts or Standby Points, have received widespread condemnation since being revealed earlier this year.

Under the plans, High Peak ambulance crews will have to travel to junction 29 of the M1 – the other side of Chesterfield – to pick up and drop off their ambulance at the start and end of each day.

Mr Bingham, who was at a High Peak Borough Council meeting on Monday night when an EMAS representative attended to speak to councillors about the plans, said: “I can’t see a single plus point about this.

“I’ve met both the Chief Executive and the Chairman and told them my views in quite simple terms. I can see so many problems, let alone the weather.

“If staff have to pick up an ambulance in Chesterfield and then once they’ve set off back to Buxton they get a call from Baslow for example, they will never get here to the High Peak.

“They’ve got these tactical deployment points which to me seems like a very posh name for what looks like a Portakabin.

“For the staff, instead of going to Buxton ambulance station, they’ll have to travel to Chesterfield. If you have staff living north of Buxton, they’ve got a very long drive to make there and back and that could be sandwiched in between a 12-hour shift. I don’t see how that helps staff welfare at all.

“There is a gap (in the cover) here in the High Peak and I would urge people to go along to the consultation meetings and make their points very, very strongly.”