Concerns over ambulance service provision

Coun Jayne Booth at Todmorden Ambulance Station.

Coun Jayne Booth at Todmorden Ambulance Station.

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Health chiefs have moved to reassure patients in Todmorden that any planned changes to ambulance provision will still result in a high quality service.

Todmorden councillors have expressed concerns after receiving “strong reports” that locally based emergency response vehicles could be relocated to a central site in Halifax, which they fear would result in increased response times to reach patients and could put lives at risk.

But Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) has said the focus of its ongoing review is to continue to provide a safe, responsive and high quality service for all.

Todmorden ward councillor Steve Sweeney said: “Emergency response vehicles are currently based at localities across Calderdale so they can deal with incidents as soon as possible while waiting for an ambulance.

“The sooner people are dealt with by a paramedic, the greater the chance of surviving trauma.

“The longer the delay, the greater the risk.

“These plans are being brought in without considering the reality on the ground.

“There will be an ambulance at Todmorden but once this is out response times will increase significantly.

“Even when the valley isn’t flooded or snowed in, there are continuous roadworks and delays.”

Mayor of Todmorden Coun Jayne Booth said: “We know that our health system in Calderdale is facing huge pressure - it is being forced to make cuts of up to £150 million over the next five years.

“But that must not be used as an excuse for actions that could put public safety at risk.”

Responding to the concerns David Williams, deputy director of operations at YAS NHS Trust, said: “We are currently carrying out a review to look at the ever increasing demands on our 999 service and staff, and explore ways of how we can work differently and more efficiently to support our emergency cover both now and in the future.

“Initial work has indicated that there are areas where we could be more efficient and, if addressed, would result in positive impact on the services we provide for patients as well as improving the working lives of our staff.

“At this stage no final decisions have been made on the future of our operational model and as part of this ongoing process we will continue to actively discuss this work with our staff and work closely with our trade union colleagues and healthcare partners from across the region.

“We would like to reassure members of the public that patients’ needs are at the heart of everything we do and our absolute focus throughout this process is on ensuring that we continue to deliver a safe, responsive and high quality service to the people of Yorkshire.”