‘We’ll get to patients more quickly with these changes’
Ambulance bosses claim radical moves to close stations and base crews in Thanet will improve response times. The re-organisation is due to take effect from next month – spelling the end for Canterbury ambulance station, with paramedics instead parked up at “response posts”.
Crews covering Herne Bay will also be based in Thanet but the station will become a response post for the time being. The South East Coast Ambulance Service says the new arrangements will avoid delays and it makes sense to locate ambulances where statistics show they are most likely to be needed.
The reshuffle, which is currently underway, is turning the ambulance station at Westwood Cross into a major ‘Make Ready Centre’, where all the ambulances from Canterbury, Herne Bay, Whitstable, Thanet, Faversham and Deal will be based. Crews will start and finish their shifts at the site in Haine Road, having travelled out to their response posts but SECamb says no stations will close until the new posts have been established and are operational. That could be as soon as next month in Canterbury, where the station in Military Road is due to close and be replaced by two response posts in the city. The response post in Whitstable is already operating from the Estuary View Medical Centre. SECamb senior operations manager for the area, Chris Stamp, said:
“Many of our ambulance stations were built more than 30 years ago and not in the best position for responding to patients quickly. Improving patient outcomes and response times requires our vehicles and crews to be where the public need them to be, when they need them. This is why you might see an ambulance on ‘standby’ in locations that are not ambulance stations because they are closer to patient demand.
We also want our staff spending more time doing the job they are trained to do – treating patients. You would not expect to see the pilot of an aircraft cleaning the plane before every flight and that is what we are looking to achieve with the Make Ready system. Crews starting their shift will immediately have a vehicle which has been deep-cleaned and fully stocked with equipment which has been checked and serviced. To reduce the risk of vehicle breakdowns, on-site vehicle maintenance experts will be on-hand to undertake routine checks and maintenance.”
SECamb says the shifts will also be timed to overlap to take into account the journey to and from Thanet.
Herne Bay Gazette, June 26th 2014